This is a collection of seven short stories about the lives of women and mostly girls, in some of the world's poorest countries, in particularly the things that happen to them simply because as the title says, they are a girl.
Many of the subjects are ones I have read about before - lack of education, lack of birth control, rape, domestic slavery, malnutrition and so on, but nevertheless, it is still shocking reading. The story that touched me the most was the one from Brazil, where girls as young as 12 or younger routinely have babies of their own, due to lack of education and healthcare - the Church of course forbidding the use of contraception. It strikes me that this is as much a men's problem as a woman's, for it takes two to tango and many of these young Brazilian men (I hate to generalise) will it seems do almost anything to get these young girls to give them what they want, afterwards casually casting them aside, like a sweet without its wrapper. Perhaps if the men were educated to use a different kind of wrapper, this type of thing would be a little less prevalent. It goes back though to that aforementioned Church - religion has a lot to answer to I sometimes feel.
The remaining stories are no less shocking, and ones that everyone should read - ignorance is not an excuse when books such as this are available. I may not agree with everything that the charity that is the beneficiary of this book does, for it makes it clear that much of their work is controversial, but I like to think that as well as educating myself, by buying this book, I am in some way small way helping the lives of women throughout the world.
I initially chose this book as I'm a great fan of some of the authors but as I read through the seven stories I couldn't help being drawn into the lives of the girls and young women each author met. Each are beautifully written but the styles are very different and it's really interesting to see the contrast.
What I didn't realise was that proceeds of the sale of the book go to an International children's charity, Plan UK. So whilst I felt shocked by the treatment of some of the girls and young women and inspired by many of their stories - I also felt that in some (small) way I was helping to make a change.
How is it possible that in the 21st century children, young people and women can suffer such appalling brutality just because they are female. The book brings to our attention the suffering which is largely unheard in the rest of the world and the proceeds support the charity who are doing such important work. Congratulations to all of the authors for undertaking such a daunting task and reporting what they have seen. I hope that eventually the men who consider that such behaviour is acceptable will come to see that their girl babies, children and women should be treasured and loved.
the stories of each one, whether based on true accounts of girls around the world or fictitious, but nearer to the truth, are heartbreaking but hopeful by the writers in this anthology. the charity took initiative to compile pieces of writing of young women who represent what life is like in these countries in the modern world and it has left a message to me ever since i finished the whole book.