Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

International Day of the Girl

Yesterday marked one of those days we set aside to celebrate and acknowledge a group of individuals. It seems appropriate to me that International Day of the Girl falls just before Thanksgiving in our country, as I know I am personally deeply thankful for the girl - or rather the young woman - in my own life. I think too thought we need to be thankful for the young women and girls around our world who have the potential to change it.

We are truly fortunate in this country. We enjoy a level of equity for women that does not exist in all parts of this world. The Intrepid Junior Blogger has goals and aspirations that are unhindered by her gender, and she sees no reason that being a girl will be an impediment to reaching them. We still struggle on occasion though to ensure all young women in this country understand that all career paths are open to them, and we find ourselves still trying to find ways to encourage them to enter careers that may be considered non-traditional for women, but at least here we have the option of doing so.

It would be remiss of us to forget that this is not the case for girls and young women in every country. In some countries young women continue to be repressed in their desire for education and equality and to achieve the basic freedoms we hold so dear. Young women like my IJB would not only struggle to achieve their dreams but see them as impossible to achieve, not goals but fantasies. This is so deeply sad as there are so many young women out there with tremendous potential to change the world if only given the opportunity and the equality to make it happen.

We are so fortunate to have organizations like Girls Inc of Northern Alberta, which encourages young women to be smart, bold and strong. Earlier this year I was honoured to be selected as one of their Women of Inspiration for this year, as if I can have any role in inspiring young women to achieve their dreams then I believe I have accomplished a great deal in my life. Organizations like Girls Inc. provide opportunities for young women to explore the possibilities in this world, and I am so thankful to have them in our community.

I am grateful too for organizations like the Justin Slade Youth Foundation which encourages young women and men to connect with our world and their community, and that provides them with a safe, secure and welcoming place to develop into contributing members of our society.

There are many more, too, so many organizations dedicated to young women (and men) and I am so grateful to all of them because our youth are not just part of our world - they are our future. It is in their hands - my daughter's precious hands - that our collective future lies. I am so grateful today to acknowledge girls from across the world, and boys, too as in those young minds and hearts resides our every hope for the future, and our very existence on a planet where life can at time be tenuous and fragile.

This Thanksgiving I have so much for which to be thankful, but today I am thankful for the children across the world. Yesterday we celebrated International Day of the Girl but in my mind every day is International Day of the Child, or at least it should be, because we have no more precious gift - or opportunity - than each and every one of them.

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