My daughter and I finally watched Girl Rising last night. We’re a little behind, as this has languished on our DVR for weeks since it first aired on CNN, but it was worth holding onto and finding the right time to watch it. My daughter is 10 and at the age where things need to appeal directly to her or else she quickly labels them as boring. I offered to comb out her wet hair while we watched TV, sucking her in with a bribe, but it only took a minute or two to comb the snarls out of her hair, and in that time, she was hooked to the first story of a young girl in Haiti advocating for her own education.
We watched story after story, some uplifting, some more haunting than others, but each showed both of us what it is like to be a girl, especially a poor girl, in different third world nations. My daughter watched in silence. We spoke only twice: once when I tried to get her to let me stop for the night, as it was getting late (she pleaded and we continued on), and the second time when I told her that a superhero story told by one of the subjects was a fictional, constructed story to hide something awful. I’m so glad we saw this film. It was sad, but hopeful and inspirational. It followed me to sleep, where I had a nightmare about being powerless in a family unit. This morning we felt we needed to do something, even small. We donated to Room to Read to help at least one more girl gain life skills and literacy.
By sometime today, I’m sure my daughter will have forgotten how lucky she is to live as she does, but the movie helped build on previous talks on women and how we are viewed in different societies, and why some want to keep women illiterate and without power. Bonking this kid on the head with a lecture would have been deemed boring and ignored, but these stories she heard.
Photo: Students at Preparatory School in Egypt, ©Gina Nemirofsky/10x10act.org