With Her: A Skilled Girl Force, International Day of the Girl Child

By Carlo Binda, BCI’s co-founder and Managing Director

I am the son of a mother, the brother of a sister, the husband of a wife, the father of a daughter, and a partner in the global struggle for gender rights.

The women in my life are my heroes  

They have helped me in forming my worldview, vision, and inspired me to action.

My mother grew up at a time in Canada when gender role expectations were well defined; men were the breadwinners and women the homemakers.  Both her brothers were expected to attend university and obtain professional credentials. There were no such expectations for my mother, but she resisted social convention and went off to California to experience life.  She ended up marrying an Italian who shared her desire to travel the world. They did – we did.  We witnessed the global diversity of culture and condition of life.

My sister is the president of the company that we co-founded.  We support organisations and individuals protecting, promoting, and enhancing gender rights globally.  Such rights are not counter to religion, as many doctrines are more progressive than are some of their adherents.  Nor is the support of gender rights the sole domain of a political perspective. Rona Ambrose the former Canadian Minister for the Status of Women sponsored the UN resolution creating the International Day of the Girl Child.  I passionately opposed most of what her Conservative party administration stood for or promoted – except this; for this I applaud it.

My wife is a passionate educator, inspired continuously by girls and boys in classrooms around the world who are less defined by their gender than their access to quality education.  She continues to receive social media messages from former students, women who are accomplished medical professionals or successful in business, or who have broken the bonds of gender repressive societies and who are taking the lead in defining themselves.

My daughter has been a voracious reader and thinker all her life, a quality she shares with her brother.  She has developed incredible inner strength and is driven in her pursuits.  She is an awesome person, compassionate, and fearlessly confronts injustice.  My daughter will use her talents and global experiences to make this a better world; we will be her champions always.

My heroes and I, we recognise, are privileged

We were born to families and societies that allowed us to confront inequality and promote our worldview; provided us with access to quality education and health services; and, afforded us economic opportunities.  We are not ashamed of this but assume a responsibility to support girls, women, and their champions around the world in protecting, promoting and enhancing gender rights.

My daughter and son were, at an early age, given Kiva accounts.  This microloan platform allowed my daughter to provide small business women in Yemen and Nigeria support in expanding their businesses.  Our company works with gender rights activists globally who provide support to girls and women worldwide, often at significant risk to themselves.

International Day of the Girl Child is a meaningful opportunity to ensure access to quality health and education is available to all without gender bias.  It is a reminder to support initiatives that

 provide girls with inspiration and assurance that they can be and do anything, not because they are girls or women but because they are human beings and should not be limited or deprived because of the fate of biology.

I will continue to draw inspiration from my heroes, a mother who inspired my values, a business leader with vision, an educator with passion and commitment to quality education, and a kick-ass kid who makes our world a better place.  We will continue our partnership with those committed to expanding opportunities for girls around the world. 

Will you?

 

 

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