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S.C.V. History
October 3
1918 - Box-office superstar William S. Hart promotes 4th series of Liberty Loan (World War I) bonds, which went on sale Sept. 28 [story]
William S. Hart

The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Mar 8, 2014

JenniferFischerToday, March 8, is International Women’s Day. Never heard of it? Or, maybe you’ve heard of it, but you don’t really get it? You’re not alone.

I like the way the United Nations website explains it: “International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.”

This year’s theme, “Equality for women is progress for all,”  emphasizes how gender equality, empowerment of women, women’s full enjoyment of human rights and the eradication of poverty are essential to economic and social development. It also stresses the vital role of women as agents of development.

Appropriately, the fabulous documentary “Girl Rising” recently became available for digital download on Amazon. DVDs are also available on Amazon. I highly recommend this documentary. It will move you, inspire you and make you think. (You’ll recognize some familiar voices in the film, too: Liam Neeson, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Selena Gomez, Salma Hayek, Chloe Grace Moretz, Freida Pinto and Meryl Streep.)

“Girl Rising” is more than a film; it’s a global movement to empower women – starting when they are girls. As a person, empowering women and continuing to strive for equality for all women is important, and I don’t feel that way because I’m a woman. I feel that way because I know the value of having every person equally engaged in building a better world, creating a positive life for themselves, sharing their unique gifts with the world. When girls and women are not empowered but are still enslaved, paid less, devalued, trapped and trafficked, we all lose.

I had the amazing opportunity to watch “Girl Rising” at the College of the Canyons this past summer, and I loved the stories of nine girls from around the world who are standing up, often against incredible odds, to demand an education. Ultimately, the film is uplifting, despite highlighting some grim realities that underscore the importance of International Women’s Day:


* 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, including 13 in the last 30 seconds;

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



* 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.


Educating girls improves economies, drives small businesses and can reduce poverty, and we can all do something to help.

Here are some ideas on how to help. Often, it makes a difference to just raise awareness, so consider letting others know (through Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that today is International Women’s Day (hashtags: #IWD2014 #womensday #women). Give a shout-out to “Girl Rising.” If you haven’t seen the film, check out the trailer and consider sharing it. Visit the “Girl Rising” website to learn a bit more about the challenges still facing so many girls around the world, and ways to give back.

Consider getting involved locally. Challenges still face women here in the U.S. and in our local community. Often, girls find they are expected to help raise younger siblings rather than being encouraged to focus on their schoolwork or find themselves pushed to thinking more about boys and attracting the correct husband than their studies.

Girls who run away from home are too often entrapped by traffickers and end up forced into unimaginable lives. If you are a woman, consider mentoring a young woman in your community. It could change her life. It’s also important to make sure we’re raising our children (especially our boys) to view the girls they go to school with as equals who deserve their respect.

If you can make a donation to an organization working in another country to educate girls, please do. If you feel moved to engage in service in our local community, do that. You can visit the Hands On website or 1-800-volunteers to find opportunities. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to turn a family vacation into a service trip. A friend of mine is heading to Haiti to do teacher trainings through Hope for the Hungry. The truth is, if each and every one of us does something, then together we will create a world in which all girls are rising.

First step – thank a woman in your life today. Let her know if she has inspired you, motivated you, made your life better. Trust me, it matters.

To any women reading this right now, thanks for the amazing work you undoubtedly do in your life. Happy International Women’s Day.



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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