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March 17
1927 - Newhall telephone exchange, est. 1900, now serves 100 phones [story]

JenniferFischerThe United Nations selected October 11 last year as the first International Day of the Girl. Next Friday will be the 2nd Annual Day of the Girl.

The Day of the Girl website states: “In reserving a day for advocacy and action by and for girls, the UN has signaled its commitment to end gender stereotypes, discrimination, violence, and economic disparities that disproportionately affect girls… including gender violence, early marriage, child labor, and discrimination at work.

Last year on my blog, I shared my thoughts as a mom of two boys on the importance of raising boys who will respect girls – boys who “will be men who will insist on a world free of gender discrimination.” In short, I asked myself, “How do I raise my boys to be good men?”

Of course, this remains important to me. The upcoming International Day of the Girl serves as a reminder of the inequality that still exists for girls, an inequality I was recently reminded of this summer when I watched “Girl Rising,” which was presented by the Humanities Department at College of the Canyons. Some of the facts stuck out for me:

* 66 million girls are out of school globally.

* Every year, 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence. Girls who are not in school are more susceptible to this violence.

* 14 million girls under age 18 will be married this year; 13 in the last 30 seconds.

* The No. 1 cause of death for girls 15-19 worldwide is childbirth.

dayofthegirlThere’s good news …

* Girls with eight years of education are four times less likely to be married as a child.

* A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20 percent more as an adult.

* Educated girls grow economies. If India enrolled 1 percent more girls in secondary school, the country’s GDP would rise by $5.5 billion.

I can support equality for girls and education for girls around the world. I can raise my boys to be men who view women as equals, who treat women with respect, who appreciate women. Here are five of the ways I plan to do that:

1. Set a positive example. At home, it is important that my husband and I model a respectful and equal relationship, and that we model social engagement through our own efforts to create a better world.

2. Foster compassion and understanding. If I can teach my boys to be compassionate, especially to those they view as different, I know my sons will be kind and empathetic and will have the capacity – and desire – to make a positive difference in the life of others.

3. Introduce them to strong females – in real life and through books and stories. Sharing books with my boys in which a girl is the hero matters.

4. Foster generosity. Greed is connected to many of the challenges facing girls in the world as people take advantage of the vulnerable. We teach our children to share, but the adult world still remains obsessed with ownership and the acquisition of stuff. If I can foster a generous spirit in my children, I can raise men who see the importance of giving, rather than taking. I must also set the example by giving to those less fortunate and by living within my means, maintaining a humble home where we are not surrounded and obsessed with our stuff, but are surrounded and focused on each other.

5. Fill their lives with proper male role models. When talking about this post with my husband, he stressed how important it was for him to have positive male role models. Children learn through books and school lessons, but what they see everyday matters much more.

To learn more about International Day of the Girl, visit the Day of the Girl website. To learn how you can make a difference in the life of a girl, visit the “Girl Rising” site.


Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.


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  1. STF Intern says:

    Great to see that you are raising awareness of the International Day of the Girl! The Human Rights Watch Student Task Force of Santa Clarita Valley hopes you can make it to a special screening of “Girl Rising” this Friday, October 11, 2013 to celebrate the International Day of the Girl at the Hart High School Auditorium. There will be two screenings, a matinee showing at 4:30 pm and an encore showing at 7:30 pm, with a suggested donation of five dollars per ticket. All proceeds raised will go to support the school fees for young girls in impoverish nations.This is a community wide event and the Santa Clarita Student Task Force hopes to get all parents, students, and children to attend!

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