My life is about to change forever as I anticipate the arrival of my first grandchild any day now. I’m already madly in love with this soon to be named little girl, whom I affectionately call, Princess Awesome.
For months now, our family has laughed and teased and debated one another as we dream about what she’ll be like. Some family members want her to play sports and be athletic. Others predict she’ll be smart, love to read, and always dress in style. Her uncle insists he’s buying her a bow and camouflage and taking her hunting—good luck getting her mama to agree on that one.
While each of us has different dreams for this treasured little lady, we all agree she has tremendous potential. She is deeply valued and loved and wanted.
Today is International Day of the Girl, and as I proudly await the arrival of my granddaughter, I am grieved for the millions of girls around the world whose experience will be the exact opposite of my granddaughter’s. Girls who will be rejected, unloved, and unwanted because of strong cultural preferences for boys.
For example, In India, 700,000 girls are aborted every year, simply because they are female. When a daughter is born, Infanticide is so widely practiced in India that little girls are 75% more likely to die than boys. Daughters in China face a similar fate where every year more than a million girls are aborted, murdered, or neglected to death because families prefer sons. In 2012, trash collectors in China found an infant girl barely breathing left in a garbage bin to die. Miraculously she survived, but hundreds of others don’t.
In these countries, gendercide has left massive gender imbalances that further contribute to sex trafficking and violence against women. When millions of men go unmarried because millions of potential brides have been killed, men are more inclined to purchase sex. Traffickers sell girls as brides to men in rural villages who have no women to marry. The UN estimates that more than 117 million women are “missing” worldwide as a result of gender-biased sex selection abortions and infanticide.
On this International Day of the Girl Child, I want to challenge you to do something to make the world a better place for women and girls. Pray, advocate, raise awareness, share a post on social media, or support an organization doing good work to rescue and empower women and girls. All Girls Allowed and the Invisible Girl Project are two organizations doing good work in China and India respectively.
As Christians, we should be the first to champion gender equality and justice for women because we believe our sisters are image bearers of God, inherently valuable, and fundamentally equal to men. God wants all his daughters to thrive, grow, learn, develop their gifts and contribute to his greater purpose in the world.
Let’s do our part. We can’t do everything. But let’s refuse to do nothing.