A teen growing up in the Nairobi slum of Kibera, like other girls Halima Mohammed couldn’t go to school when menstruating because she couldn’t afford sanitary pads. When her parents died, her grandfather paid for her school fees. Halima and her friends organized a group called Mashujaa (“heroes”) to do fundraising, joining a neighbored youth saving-club and made jewelry and soaps to sell. Halima also wants the group to fight government corruption, stating “We can change Kenya.”
Girls outperform boys in educational achievement in 70% of the countries studied between 2000 and 2010 that analyzed 1.5 million 15-year-olds.[i] This holds true even in states with low gender equality ratings. Boys outperform girls only in Colombia, Costa Rica and the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and among high-achievers. The achievement of boys and girls were similar in the US and UK. Overall, children think boys are academically inferior to girls and they believe adults share their perception.
Gijsbert Stoet and David Geary, “Sex Differences in Academic Achievement Are Not Related to Political, Economic, or Social Equality,” Intelligence, Vol. 48, 2015.
A website called “A Mighty Girl” claims to have the world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies to raise “smart, confident, and courageous girls.”
A rap song saved an Afghan gjrl from early marriage. Living in Iran, Sonita Alizadeh’s parents told her when she was 14 they needed her dowry money to pay for her brother’s wedding. To protest, she made a music video called “Brides for Sale.” She dressed as a bride with a bruised face and a barcode on her forehead. Her parents got the message and backed down. She advocates that “girls need to have hope for heir future, even if it is hard. If a girl loses hope, she’ll feel dead inside and this is the worst thing.” Her music led to a scholarship in the US. Shuka Kalantari, “Afghan Rapper Escaped Teen Marriage by Singing About It,” PRI, May 12, 2015.
Graduate student union activist Katy Fox-Hodess wrote about how to prevent activist burn out and stay grounded and mindful.
Katy Fox-Hodess, “Grounded in the Movement,” Stansbury Forum, April 17, 2015.