- Carla Neumann, MS, LMFT
Why My Girl TRIBE?
There Are Serious Problems To Be Addressed
It is increasingly clear that gender inequality is a huge problem in our world today. In fact,
The United Nations, in their “#Envision 2030” Sustainable Development Goal Publication, declared the challenge of fighting global gender inequality as one of their top Sustainable Development Goals. It is well documented that women worldwide are not treated equally when it comes to equal pay for equal work, but females in countries in the developing world, experience severe hardships as a result of gender inequality, that extremely compromise their lives and those of their children. In many developing countries families have little resources, so it is far more important to them to pay for education for their male children, and female children are often forced to stay home. This alone, contributes to nearly 781 million illiterate women around the globe.
When girls are denied an education and required to stay home, they are then expected to do most of the household chores and take on more “adult” responsibilities at a young age. Many are then even married off to older males, often for a dowry to help the family survive. It is estimated that approximately 37,000 girls under the age of 18 are married each day. Many of these young women have no access to family planning which results in early age pregnancies. A high number of these girls die during childbirth, as very often these births are more difficult due to prior trauma or in many cases Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). 50% of women in Sub-Saharan Africa have no access to prenatal care and this contributes to high infant mortality rates, and sadly more trauma, grief and loss. It is estimated that 800-1500 women die daily from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. AIDS spreads twice as fast among uneducated girls than girls with access to education.
On the work front, women in Sub-Saharan Africa earn 35% less than men, for equal work. 26% of women are less likely than men to even be employed at all. 75% of these women are working informal jobs, (housekeeping, laundry, agricultural digging, nanny services) which consequently offer no benefits or worker’s rights. Women who are living on less than $2 per day are 28% less likely to have a formal bank account, despite men who are living in extreme poverty. In rural communities, women are often laboring in the fields providing physical labor in agricultural farming communities, often well into their elder years.
A lack of a formal education sets up life-long struggles and challenges that will remain throughout their lives. Statistics from Opportunity.org state that each additional year of primary school can increase a girl’s future wage earnings by 10 – 20%, while each year of secondary school increases earnings by 15- 25%. Astoundingly, “a child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5”. Girls in the developing world who have 7 or more years of formal education marry 4 years later and have 2.2 fewer children than their uneducated sisters. Education is not only the key to an enhanced quality of life, it is necessary for survival. And, despite being enrolled in school, there are many issues that also interfere with consistent attendance. These include sicknesses that are prevalent in the developing world, such as Malaria, Typhoid, Intestinal Parasites, and sadly, for girls one of the biggest causes of absenteeism from school is Menstruation, a natural healthy part of being a female!
Lack of Adequate Supplies
In a recent issue of Teen Vogue, it was reported that in Kenya, Africa, more than 1 million girls miss up to 6 weeks of school annually because they do not have access to menstrual products to care for their monthly cycle. In addition, most of these girls lack of access to sex education. Some other studies from Kenya found school girls engage in transactional sex to pay for products to manage their menstrual cycles. This puts them at risk of other more serious health issues such as HIV/AIDS and other STDs. It is estimated that around 500 million girls and women (globally) lack access to adequate supplies to manage their periods each month.
Sadly, around the world there are various forms of period shaming rooted in gender inequality and discriminatory practices. These are largely due to taboos, myths, stigmas and unnecessary shame around menstruation. This leads to teasing, bullying and in one recent sad case, the suicide of a 14-year old girl in Kenya. These misguided beliefs and negative attitudes about the normal health cycle of a girl’s life create negative beliefs and behavior and have a very negative impact on a girl’s self-esteem, self-worth and self-image. All leading to compromised emotional, spiritual, academic performance and interpersonal relationships.
What Women Want
When asked what most women dream of for their future, the most popular answer, worldwide, is, women want their children to go to school. With all the issues facing girls, particularly in the developing world, it is difficult for them to achieve and obtain the necessary training and skills to become self-sustaining. All of this takes a heavy toll on self-image, self-esteem, goal attainment, relationships and effective parenting.
My Girl Tribe™ Part of The Solution
In recognition of the impact of the lack of gender equality around the world, Dream Sponsors seeks to empower girls and women through a formal “inner wellness” program authored and delivered by licensed marriage and family therapist, Carla Neumann, based in Florida, USA.
At My Girl TRIBE, girls are part of one tribe, no matter where on planet earth they are. My Girl TRIBE seeks to unite women of all ethnicities, cultures and tribes, using their common womanhood to bond, inspire and lift each other up. “My Girl TRIBE” does not discriminate, devalue, demean or deflate, but My Girl TRIBE unites, empowers, inspires, motivates, teaches, accepts and raises the inner beauty of each girl, regardless of tribe, race, ethnicity, creed or geographic region on planet Earth. Stay tuned for more on this emerging program brought to you by Dream Sponsors, Inc.
Edited by Lexy Sanguinetti
Photos by Marlee Pasinetti; courtesy of Sanguinetti & Company, LLC