Saturday, 11 October 2014

Day of the Girl

No book reviews or any of my other usual stuff today, folks – it's the UN's and Plan's Day of the Girl and that's very important.

Plan arranged quite an effective campaign for this year's Day of the Girl. One of the organisation's goals is to raise awareness of the fact that a shocking number of 15 million young girls are made child brides every year. From a Western point of view, all this happens somewhere very far away in very different cultures than ours. Can we really grasp what sorts of consequences marriage at an early age can have, what those millions of girls are being subjected to? Well, now 12-year-old "Thea" helps us visualize that as she blogs about preparing to be the first child bride in Norway.

Fortunately, the Norwegian law doesn't actually allow child marriages – "Thea" is a fictional character created specifically for the Plan campaign, as is the blog. That, however, doesn't lessen the power of the blog at all. Even though you know no such wedding is going to happen, when "Thea" writes about her thoughts on the prospect of moving in with her 37-year-old husband and quitting school because said husband will want her at home, you can't help feeling very disturbed. The blog also includes pictures of "Thea" trying on wedding dresses.

"Thea's" wedding, scheduled for today, did not happen. Still, the things that are written on her blog are reality for too many girls out there, and they are most likely not going to share the experience online.

Theas bryllupsblogg – apparently, this is where I put my skills in Swedish to good use for the first time since I took matriculation exams. Om du kan svenska, you'll be able to read it reasonably well.

Here is a couple of lines about the blog campaign in English.

PS. What a wonderful coincidence it is that Malala Yousafzai, who has raised her voice so fearlessly to support girls' right for education, was given the Nobel Peace Prize just yesterday, jointly with Kailash Satyarthi.

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