Review: In ‘Girl Rising,’ Girls Fight for Education that We Take for Granted

Five days a week we go to school and unless it’s a half day or field trip, we’re counting down the seconds til we get out. Even when we’re in school, we’re groaning and bashing our heads against the desk over how boring it is. But there are girls out there that only
wish they have the education we’re offered. Before winter break, the senior class had to watch a documentary called Girl Rising by Richard E. Robins. Before, the only positive thought I had about watching this film was that I got to get out of class. But after watching, I felt incredibly guilty. Being a girl especially, it was heartbreaking to watch. Women are completely undermined in many parts of the world; we’re viewed as being below men. Sixty-six million girls are out of school and 33 million fewer girls than boys are in primary school. Sadly, we didn’t watch the full film, what we watched the stories of three.

The first girl was Wadley, 7 years old, from Haiti. She loved going to school, then a chaotic earthquake struck her home and school. She ended up having to live in a refugee camp with her mother who was desperately trying to make money to support her. Wadley’s spirit was instantly lifted when her school was about to reopen. Unfortunately, her mother couldn’t afford to pay for school so when Wadley tried to stay in class, she was asked to leave. But that wasn’t the end for Wadley: she kept going back to the school and being asked to leave. This went on for days, until one day when the teacher asked Wadley to leave again, she refused. She said she would keep coming back every day, and finally the teacher gave in and let her stay.

I thought the second girl had the most powerful story. Her name is Amina from Afghanistan. When she was born, her mother cried not because of how beautiful she was, but because she wished she would’ve given birth to a son instead. In Afghan society, Amina is confined by her gender and expected only to serve men. She was only allowed to go to school for a few years. Amina was then forced into a marriage, a cousin that her parents choose for her when she was only 13 years old. She gave birth a year later.  She is now restricted to wear clothing that reveals only her eyes. Amina is fed up with this lifestyle; she knows there is more to life than serving men. Amina demands change and encourages others in her society to be that change like she will be.

The last girl is Senna from Peru. Living in a bleak Peruvian mining town, poverty is extremely rampant. Her father encouraged Senna to be a success in life and insisted that she went to school. While at school, she discovered the power of poetry. She loved to write
and recite poems, they made her feel powerful. She even won a poetry contest. Senna also had a job and could add the earnings in her head faster than a calculator. Senna realized that the fortune her father always talked about was buried inside her all along, just like
the gold inside the mines. Today, Senna is now in secondary school and is the Treasurer Brigadier of her class.

Girls deserve an education just as much as boys. Educating girls is one of the highest returns on investment available in the developing world. When girls are educated, they get married later, have healthier children and will value educating their own children. A girl
with even one extra year of education can earn 20 percent more as an adult. Educating girls is the fastest way to end generational poverty and help grow communities. But sadly, because of many countries being in a state of poverty and school not being free, families generally only have enough money to send one child to school. The parents always choose to send the boy over the girl.

As I said earlier, after watching the film I felt incredibly guilty. We complain about going to school on a daily basis, while these girls are desperate and eager to go to school. School is also free here. Women can have a big impact on society just as much as men. Women are men are equal, because we’re all human.

One thought on “Review: In ‘Girl Rising,’ Girls Fight for Education that We Take for Granted”

  1. It’s honestly very humbling to realize how many privileges we all have here at Hanover High have and take for granted everyday. In that respect, Girl Rising was very eye opening for me. Even if what we can do ourselves is very limited, it is still important to raise awareness because while ignorance may be bliss, knowledge is power.


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