Girl Rising By nived Parikh

How Do Cultural Beliefs Affect a Girl's Life

Many girls around the world are affected by cultural beliefs of their families and communities. Through the film, we were able to learn about three different cultures that affected the girls in negative ways. The three stories ranged in how harshly the women were treated, but in with each story, there was one thing in common; the women were treated as inferior beings compared to men. This idea was displayed differently by each culture. In Nepal, it was a custom of bonded labor that was practiced for a long time, and just recently become illegal. In Sierra Leone, people believed it to be odd for a young woman to be hosting a talk show on the radio. Finally, in Afghanistan, we saw women being treated as slaves and disgraces.

The Stories

In the first story, we learned about a girl named Suma from Nepal who had become a bonded laborer since childhood. These children laborers are called Kamlari. In that part of Nepal, it was a common thing for parents to send their daughters to work as Kamlaris in order to survive financially. One less child to send to school and take care of meant saving money and resources vital to keeping themselves alive. Eventually a group of social workers come and rescue Suma and some other young girls from the harsh life of a Kamlari.

In the second story, we meet a young woman in Sierra Leone named Mariama. She states in the beginning of the film that she lives the life of a regular teenager. She tells us about her family and why she has two mothers and one father, being the brother of her biological father. She continues to talk about how she began to work at a radio station and hosted her own talk show. This story led to her father being told by the community that his daughter shouldn't be hosting this talk show because she is a girl. Her father eventually made Mariama stop, and it took some convincing to let her go back to the show.

In the third story we are told the life of a girl named Amina. The story begins by talking about how her mother burst into tears upon seeing a girl being born. Immediately we are shown how women are treated as inferior beings in communities in Afghanistan. We see all the women and girls being treated as slaves and working at home. In that community, women are essentially baby-makers and houseworkers. They are the least desired children to have and treated like dirt by both parents.

How Do These Cultural Beliefs Affect Education of Girls

With Suma, due to her being a Kamlari from a very early age, she wasn't able to receive an education while her brother's education was prioritized over hers. The only reason Suma became a Kamlari was because her parents thought it to be more important to give their son an education since men are thought to be smarter and more responsible than women. Men are also expected to be the breadwinners of the family which requires them to get an education.

Next, I'm going to talk about Amina since Mariama had a normal education, and her education wasn't affected by cultural beliefs. Amina wasn't able to go to school due to the slave-like life she lived. She was forced to do chores around the house and take care of the younger children instead of going to school. This idea was very similar to what happened with Suma. Due to the fact that Amina is a female, she is forced to work at home with her mother and other ladies instead of going out and being educated. We do learn that she fortunately was able to take a few classes to learn how to write their language, but other than that she didn't have the opportunity to be educated because of the cultural beliefs of that community.

Overall, cultural beliefs from around the world have very similar themes which cause the women to have a harder time being educated, and often cause them to be mistreated.

Citation for Pictures:

Bonded Labor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rBsf2oHYI4 (picture was taken as screenshot from video)

Amina: http://libertynews.com/2013/06/girl-rising-campaign-the-power-of-educating-girls/

Girls in School: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Girls_in_school_in_Khyber_Pakhtunkhwa,_Pakistan_(7295675962).jpg

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