If you’ve been watching FIFA World Cup games on CBC, as I have, then you’ve probably seen the for-once informative ad for the website “Because I Am A Girl”. The statistics mentioned in the ad (and on the site) reinforced an already firm belief of mine: that the education of the girl child is a critical aspect of world development. I was reminded of a passage, written about a hundred years ago, from the writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a central figure in the history of the Bahá’í Faith.
The question of training the children and looking after the orphans is extremely important, but most important of all is the education of girl children, for these girls will one day be mothers, and the mother is the first teacher of the child. In whatever way she reareth the child, so will the child become, and the results of that first training will remain with the individual throughout his entire life, and it would be most difficult to alter them. And how can a mother, herself ignorant and untrained, educate her child? It is therefore clear that the education of girls is of far greater consequence than that of boys. This fact is extremely important, and the matter must be seen to with the greatest energy and dedication.
Also, in 1995 the Bahá’í International Community made a statement on the education of girls and women, which I was happy to run into again.
I’m not just soapboxing; this does relate to art. I’ve just seen an episode of Smart Girls at the Party, a web series hosted by the ever-hilarious Amy Poehler. In each episode she meets a young, creative girl who is “changing the world by being herself”. The girls she interviews are building robots at age 14, etc., and the show has its humourous moments. It’s a party I wish had been gettin’ started back when I was a smart girl!
I did a quick search on my Internet machine to see what kind of resources were out there for creative and “smart” girls, and I didn’t find anything that really thrilled me. There were magazine-type webites: I have mixed feelings about SmartGirl.org and GirlWorks (two of the first to come up in my search) but deconstructing them seems a task more time-consuming than worthwhile at the moment. There were organizations: I found Smart-Girl.org interesting, and the Girl Child Network Worldwide moreso.
My search was not thorough; I’m sure there are plenty of actually smart websites out there for smart girls—it’s just that the noise of the giant Internet makes them difficult to find quickly. I should also remember that there are great things available on the Web for smart children in general, girls and boys.
On that more general note, I came across an engaging TED talk given by Miss Adora Svitak (age 12) on “What Adults Can Learn from Children” . She confidently proclaims the capacities of children and reminds adults to appreciate and learn from them. I venture to say that it’s worth your eight minutes.
I’ll leave you with a sparkling quote—a Bahá’í favourite:
Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.