› Ask yourself:
Gender inequality and discrimination are human rights issues that affect many girls and women around the world, just because of their gender. The facts are staggering! According to Plan Canada Because I Am A Girl:
Critical to the development of gender equality is education. When girls go to school and stay in school, the world around them is affected in positive ways. Research shows that when girls are educated, they gain independence, have greater access to job opportunities, invest their acquired income back into their families and community, and in turn are able to stop the cycle of poverty in their lives. By supporting the advancement of girls and women through education, the health and well being of the human population improves and communities thrive.
Gender Equality: refers to the equal treatment of women and men socially, politically and economically so that they have equal access to education, work opportunities and equal pay, the right to vote, access to medical services, and many other human rights.
Gender Discrimination: negative attitudes, beliefs and behaviour towards a person because of their gender or perceived gender, based on social, cultural, and political norms and practices.
Gender-Based Violence: is a form of discrimination that is inflicted upon a person based on gender or perceived gender, which reinforces gender inequality in many forms, such as sexual assault, rape, domestic abuse, forced marriage, human trafficking, and forced abortion.
Women’s Rights: similar to gender equality, women’s rights promotes the social and legal equality of girls and women with men.
Heather Davis and JoAnne Wallace with Jenn Heil “Because I Am A Girl” Ambassador
Grow to understand the scope of gender issues on a global scale and how girls in particular are impacted. The many problems that affect girls on a daily basis may prevent them from going to school and receiving an education.
A. How aware are you of the problems that girls face?
Use the Girls' Rights Factsheet. Sit with a partner to talk about the quiz.
Consider the following questions during your discussion:
B. Become an expert in your area of research
C. Become an expert in your area of research
D. Become an expert in your area of research
Resources* - See end of program for additional eye-opening resources.
Source: Because I Am A Girl wordpress.com
Source: Photo: www.wikimedia.org
At age 17, Malala Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, sharing the 2014 Prize with Kailash Satyarti for "their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and the right of all children to education." The Nobel Committee recognized simultaneously a Pakistani and an Indian, a Muslim and a Hindu, a woman and a man, an adolescent and a 60-year-old - a symbolic message of equality for all!
Malala Yousafzai has become an international leader for education and women’s rights, after surviving an attempt on her life by the Taliban in Pakistan. Use Malala’s story and passion for education as a foundation for your own exploration into the importance of education.
A. Who is Malala Yousafzai and why is she such an important figure in the 21st Century?
B. Watch Malala's September 2015 address to the United Nations
C. Watch Malala on the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, October 8, 2013
D. Do you value your education and would you risk your life for it? What are you gaining the most from your education right now? How would you be impacted if you were forbidden from learning?
"The surest way to keep a people down is to educate the men and neglect the women. If you educate a man you simply educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family."
~ Dr. J. E. Kwegyir Aggrey, a visionary Ghanian educator (1875–1927)
Read the above quote by Dr. J. E. Kwegyir Aggrey, and take a few minutes to consider and answer the following questions:
With a partner discuss the above quote and questions and then discuss as a class.
A. There are many important organizations, such as the SupaMaasai Foundation, that are making enormous strides to improve communities around the world. The purpose of this next activity is to work in partners or small groups to research an organization of your choice. You can choose from the list below or make a different selection.
B. Once you and your partner or small group completes your research, transcribe the information in the form of a mind map. Think of the mind map like a visual story. How can your map be read so that others can gain information about your organization? Use chart paper or mural paper. This activity will conclude with a gallery walk to view the mind maps hung on the classroom walls.
C. Reflect on what you have learned and how you plan on continuing to contribute to girls’ education and human rights issues in the future.
Transgender: a broad term used to describe the experience of individuals who have an internal gender identity that differs from the sex they were assigned at birth and based on their genitals. Gender identity is an individuals’ internal sense of maleness, femaleness, both or neither. Transgender is not dependent on sexual orientation.
Adapted from: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/questions-answered-transgender-people/story?id=30570113 following the CBS interview with Bruce Jenner, former star U.S. Olympian athlete, where he discusses being transgender.
Dr. Johanna Olson, the medical director of the transgender clinic at Children's Hospital Los Angeles says, “Being transgender is not a mental illness”. She uses the term gender dysphoria to properly explain being transgender. “Gender Dysphoria” is the term medical experts use to describe the distress a person may feel when their gender identity does not match the gender they were assigned at birth. There are various treatment options available to manage this discontent including mental health services, hormonal treatments, and— in some cases— surgery. The causes of transgender identification are still unknown and being explored. More recent studies indicate that the neural wiring of a transgender person’s brain looks more like their gender of identify than the gender of assignment at birth.
Yes. Children can be transgender, but not all children who experiment with gender play or exhibit gender nonconforming behavior will be transgender adults. Experts say only a small fraction of young children who exhibit gender nonconforming behavior will go on to be transgender later in life. In other words, most of these children will go on to report that their sex assigned at birth aligns with their gender identity.
Psychiatrist Dr. Stephen B. Levine of Case Western Reserve School of Medicine (Cleveland, Ohio), who has treated hundreds of transgender people, says, "What we need to understand is that in development, all of us get dramatically transformed over time by forces we don't fully understand.”
“Most people know their gender in early childhood,” says Dr. Olson. “Many times they will assert their gender by saying, “I am a boy” or “I am a girl.” They will also often experience distress about the dissonance between their assigned sex at birth and their experienced gender. As they get older and start to get more cultural messages that their behavior is not normal or acceptable, this may increase the level of stress that they feel.”
For an adolescent experiencing intense gender dysphoria, the first medical option is to take puberty blockers, which prevent physical changes such as breast development and facial hair—buying a child time before a surge of unwanted hormones. It’s important to know that puberty blockers are completely reversible, but are not without some risks including effects on bone development and height. Children cannot be on these blockers indefinitely and need to go through puberty in order to match their internal gender. The second step for a medical transition is cross-sex hormones that cause irreversible effects, such as breast growth from estrogen and facial hair growth brought on by testosterone.
A small 2014 Dutch study of transgender adolescents who were started on puberty blockers as children, demonstrates that those who undergo this treatment (followed later by cross-sex hormones and/or surgery) turn out just as happy as their peers, avoiding the depression that all too often plagues transgender youth.
No. Not all transgender people have surgery—or any medical intervention. Being transgender is not about physical changes—it is about gender identity. For a transgender person, their gender identity does not align with their biological sex.
As Dr. Spack says, “For transgender people, their bodies below the brain do not define their gender status.” There are various reasons some transgender people do not have surgery. For many, the cost is prohibitive. For others, having surgery is not the most important way for them to express their gender. As Dr. Olson says, “There are some people that are completely fine—by the way—with the genitals they have.”
For those who do have surgery, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) recommends coming to the decision with the guidance of mental health professionals who specialize in transgender medicine. They also recommend living in the gender role a person identifies with, for at least 12 continuous months. As Dr. Levine says, “This is not a cavalier thing.”
Following the death of Leelah Alcorn in late December 2014, (the transgender 17-year-old woman whose suicide note ended in the plea, “Fix society. Please”) there have been an additional eight transgender youth who died by suicide in 2015. Nick Adams, who works for GLAAD and is a transgender man, says that all of us should be concerned about these tragic numbers. Adams says he believes the number of transgender people who commit suicide isn’t “because transgender people are more mentally unstable than non-transgender people—it's because we live in a society that gives us very little hope that we can be accepted and understood as our true selves. The culture needs to change so that transgender people can see a future for themselves and survive." As for homicides, “In 2015,” Adams adds, “seven transgender women have been murdered in the United States.”
Dr. Olson says that some of these tragic findings apply even to her youngest patients, “There's a lot of self-harm, there's a lot of cutting, there's a lot of burning, there's a lot of suicidal thoughts,” Olson tells ABC News, “There's a lot of suicide attempts even in very young kids. And so it's a scary time. And it's a really important time to be listening if something's happening like that for a kid.”
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