Plan Your Story - Because I Am A Girl

00:50 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Search through that drawer or box where you keep all the 'important' stuff and no doubt you'll come up with your birth certificate. It might take a little while to find it and, when you do, it might look a bit battered or scruffy. I know mine does, it even has a coffee stain on it. Now, imagine NOT being able to find it. Not because you've lost it in yet another house move (I think I'm on my third!) but because you never had one. Your parents didn't register your birth. You were born. Your Mother laboured for so many hours and struggled to bring you into the world but your presence within it is unmarked. You may as well not exist.

Go back to that cupboard. You might find some other important documents in there - your passport, driving license, exam certificates, the deeds to your house, your contract for employment, your marriage certificate, the birth certificates of your children, a bank statement. Without that birth certificate they have all disappeared. You don't exist and you can't prove yourself to all of those different places that rely on that scruffy, coffee-stained piece of paper.

The lovely Seasider Claire asked if I was interested in meeting her challenge to blog about a world in which I don't have a birth certificate. This is all part of a campaign started by The Plan named 'Because I Am A Girl' to highlight the 75 million girls globally who aren't in school and have no access to education. The Plan have created a Facebook App which takes information from your profile to show you what your life would look like if you were one of those girls who didn't have a birth certificate. Please go and have a try at it, it will shock you and move you.

So, how would my life have been different? Well, As a private girls' school pupil who was lucky enough to have a full Assisted Place and then went on to University to study further, I cannot imagine a life without education in it. I certainly can't imagine being denied education simply because I was female! I went to a Girls' School which was founded alongside a Boys' because the founder believed that girls should have the same access to education as boys. In many countries throughout the world boys are prioritised in education at the expense of girls and even denied education to keep them uneducated and 'in their place'. When I was 14 I was more concerned with which band I liked and whether the boy on the bus (he knows who he is) liked me as much as I did him. I could have been married to a man I had never met, who was twice my age! I may never have 'used' my degree much but the right to study, complete my degree and NOT use it is mine because I was lucky. Lucky not to have been one of the 75 million and to live in a country which insists that every child is registered and that every child receives that magic piece of paper, no matter what their sex.

Please take the time to have a look at the Facebook App, and perhaps blog your response to it. I'm not tagging anyone because I know we are all very busy this Christmas but, if you do have a look, please let me know either with a comment or a link to your post, you can also connect up with Seasider In the City's linky.