What do you want to be when you grow up? A simple question that children are asked on a weekly basis, often by their teachers, parents and even by their fellow peers. The answers given can range from the inspiring- doctors, teachers, astronauts and scientists- to the more questionable- cats, dinosaurs and ninja warriors… But it’s a question that has the power to help change women’s lives for the better thanks to ActionAid’s 2018 ‘Big Me’ campaign. This October, on one day during Big Me week between 8-12 October, schools are being invited to take part in a national dress up day in which pupils come in to school dressed as their dream job. The £1 that they each donate will go directly to supporting ActionAid’s work to improve the lives of women and girls around the world. Coinciding with Big Me week is the UN’s International Day of the Girl on Thursday 11th October. Observed every year since 2011, the day highlights the huge number of inequalities faced by girls worldwide based on their gender, such as girls’ right to education, medical care and protection against child marriage, and the work which is being done to address them. The statistics can be startling; 1 in 10 women around the world experience their first case of street harassment before the age of 10 (ActionAid, 2018); 70 million women are married off before the age of 18, regularly without their consent (ActionAid, 2018) and approximately every 10 minutes, an adolescent girl somewhere in the world dies as a result of violence (UNICEF, 2014).
‘There is no country in the world where women and girls as a group are not disadvantaged in relation to men and boys’ (Action Aid, 2018).
However, the work of charities like ActionAid is making a difference. Through building relationships with communities and implementing sustainable and effective initiatives such as local partners, girls’ clubs and school management committees, they can bring about long-lasting change which will improve the lives of new generations of young girls. It is vital that we encourage our students to consider their own futures and aspirations; where they would like to be in 10 years time and what they want to be doing. However, it is equally as important that we encourage them to recognise their current and future positions within a global context. What is happening to other children in the world around them and what do their futures look like? That’s why ActionAid’s Big Me week is an excellent way to engage and inspire pupils through the activity they love the most, dressing up. There are 1.1 billion girls world wide- let’s aim to inspire all of them. For more information on how your school or class can get involved in Big Me week, as well as further resources to enhance teaching and awareness, visit ActionAid’s website. Sources https://www.unicef.org/publications/index_76212.html https://www.actionaid.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do