Girl Power: “Girl Rising”

Uncategorized Posted Jun 25, 2013 by Jennifer Torode

Last week, I watched Girl Rising, a documentary on CNN about young girls who have harnessed the power of education to change the world. What an incredibly moving documentary—one that every young lady should watch. Actually, everyone should watch it!

CNN Films: 'Girl Rising'

CNN Films: ‘Girl Rising’

CNN shadowed numerous young girls spanning various regions around the world, many in regions that do not necessarily give the best opportunities to females.  Two words to describe each of them— courageous and determined.  It made me feel so blessed to have grown up in the United States where everyone is created equal and to be the daughter of amazing parents who encouraged me and my two sisters to follow our interests and dreams—helping us and encouraging us along the way. 

In the year 2013, it’s terribly disheartening that many girls around the world are not given the opportunities that I had—not even close.  Some young girls are treated so incredibly poorly and cruelly and either do not have the family or societal support to help them become healthy-minded women that have the freedom to create their own life path—it may be due to culture, religion or poverty. 

I had no idea that the number one cause of death amongst young girls in the world is childbirth.  Girls as young as 7 years old are married off or go to work as children to help support their family and some are even traded by their parents as if they were merely just a possession and the list goes on.  I cannot help but to think of my little nieces that are ages 6, 9 and 14 that are in school, adored by their parents, grandparents, sibling, aunties, uncles, etc. and are allowed to shine under the guidance of their loved ones.  It’s disconcerting that in some cultures and countries, girls are not as highly prized as boys and education is only available to males.  Really?  I don’t mean to sound judgmental or disrespectful but haven’t we evolved?  I guess I’ll never understand.  

I recall watching a segment on the news a few weeks ago about a young Afghan woman, Aesha Mohammadzai, who had her nose and ears cut off by her husband and his friends because she tried to run away to escape daily beatings.  After surviving such a brutal and cruel attack, she pulled herself from door to door looking for help.  Most turned her away—some being family.  Luckily, she was rescued and now living in Maryland here in the U.S. with a couple who is helping her grow into the woman she has every right to be.  Even with more surgeries ahead and horrific life experiences, her positive attitude and gratitude is so present and her beauty is unmistakable.


If you’ve not read, “Half the Sky,” a beautifully orchestrated book that tells the many tales of so many young girls around the globe who were oppressed to the point of no return but found the strength and courage to lift themselves up and change their lives for the better, you should.


In closing, I wanted to acknowledge the selfless people who dedicate their lives and careers to helping young women around the world reach for the stars.  We can all help even in the smallest of ways—volunteering as a Big Sister or donating monthly to organizations such as the 10X10, Half the Sky Movement and many others here and abroad.  If anything, I hope this makes women and men appreciate what they have and pay it forward even in the slightest way.  How will you help change someone’s day today for the better?