The Girl Declaration: Making our Moment in Nablus

Someday, they will say this was the moment when the world woke up to my potential.  If you haven't heard yet, that's a line from the Girl Declaration- a proclamation for gender equality released earlier this month to coincide with this Friday's global commemoration of International Day of the Girl. This week, around the world, many public figures and faces like Malala Yousafiszi and Queen Rania have lent their voices to the Declaration, and spoken out that this is in fact the moment for the world's 250 million girls: the moment that the world realizes their potential, the moment key decision-makers recognize the role of girls in community-building, and the moment that policymakers work to protect women's rights.

Participants from TWG take a moment to join in the Girl Declaration

In Palestine, participants of the The Women's Group have also been lending their voices to this global conversation on girls' rights, as we've spent two weeks discussing, in-depth, issues facing young women in the Nabulsi community. Working with local partners, we’ve covered topics such as preventing sexual abuse in the community to girl’s equal right to play outside. And this week, as International Day of the Girl arrives, we're celebrating daughters in the country by signing our very own Girl Declaration, and agreeing with women around the world that this is our moment.

Women work with a speaker during The Women's Group to create lists of reasons daughters are valuable in the community

So as young women internationally declare their moment this Friday, here's a look at how we've been working up to this day, and how The Women's Group has aligned with what's proclaimed in the Declaration:

  • I was not given a life for it to belong to someone else: In seminars, we've looked closely at the prevalence of child marriage, and a woman's right to make her own choices in marriage. Equally, we've been working to equip women with knowledge about marrying too young- such as the legal age of marriage in Palestine, and the reproductive health risks of childbearing early.
  • I was not put on this earth to be invisible, I was not made to be denied: Oftentimes, both globally as well as locally in Palestinian society, gender-based violence and violence against girls is heavily hidden and silenced- and this week, we've been working to help mothers learn to look for signs that their children might be facing abuse, and learn basic safety tips to protect their kids. We've discussed speaking out when they witness street violence, or experience harassment.
  • This is a moment when being a girl became my strength, not my pain: Sometimes, just listening to a speaker isn't enough to demonstrate the strength that girls hold- and in that case, we utilize experiential activities like sports-based games to show that being a woman doesn't mean weakness, by any means. This helps dispel cultural beliefs that men are naturally stronger than women- and affirms girls' equal right to be involved in athletics and sports activities.

Women smile after Day of the Girl activities.

So as we prepare for Friday, stay tuned for photos from our International Day of the Girl, and our continued work to make every moment a woman's moment here in Palestine.

Cayce Pack is the Women's Empowerment Program Coordinator at TYO. Above, she writes about International Day of the Girl, and how we're celebrating at TYO.