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Archive for : United Nations

Today is International Day of the Girl – Join in!

Today is the UN’s International Day of the Girl, an awesome day dedicated to speaking out against gender bias and advocating for girls’ rights everywhere. While the need for a day focused on girls’ rights might not be immediately obvious, across the globe there are many issues that girls still face including:

Illiteracy – It’s estimated that by 2015, women will make up 64% of the world’s adult population who cannot read.
Forced marraige – One in seven girls in the developing world is married off before age 15.
Violence – In America, 54% of all rapes of females happen before the age of 18.
Body image – More than half of 3rd-5th graders in America worry about their appearance and 37% worry about weight.

Across the globe, people are standing up against these issues and celebrating the Day of the Girl by highlighting, discussing, and advancing girls’ lives and opportunities. Find out how you can join in on the movement here, plug into the Day of the Girl Virtual Summit, or join an official Day of the Girl event here.

Meanwhile, over at Repair the World, we thought we would celebrate by sharing some of our favorite girl and woman empowerment organizations. Check them out!

  • Moving Traditions: This organizations’ popular program Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! has inspired more than 10,000 pre-teen and teenage girls across the country to join in the monthly celebration of the ancient New Moon holiday while building self-esteem, leadership skills, and Jewish identity.
  • Ma’yan: This non-profit and education incubator focuses a feminist lens on the cultural challenges and identity issues facing Jewish girls in contemporary society. Their research, programming and community events help participants grow into critical, curious, and committed global citizens.
  • Care: This humanitarian organization works to fight global poverty, placing a special focus on women.
  • Girls Inc.: The goal of this organization is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold. Their programs help girls navigate gender, economic and social barriers, while equipping them with the tools for health and success.
  • The Girl Effect This website focuses on the unique potential of the world’s 600,000 adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world.
  • Smart Girls at the Party Led by awesome (and awesomely funny) smart girl Amy Poehler, this interactive social network empowers girls to change the world by being themselves.

Quench Your Thirst for Service on World Water Day

Americans’ relationship to water is fairly simple. We turn on a faucet, or head to the grocery store, and find clean, cool, drinkable water at our fingertips. But while water covers more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, less than 1 percent of that is freshwater. And of that available drinking water, much of it is contaminated with pollutants, agricultural runoff and bacteria, especially in developing countries. So for millions of people across the world, access to water is anything but straightforward. In fact, 900 million people do not have access to fresh water on a daily basis.

The world’s ongoing water dilemma was the inspiration behind World Water Day – an annual day hosted by the UN, and meant to focus attention on the importance of freshwater, and advocate for its protection and equal distribution amongst the world’s 7 billion people.

This year’s focus is, interestingly, food. As it turns out, everything we eat from hamburgers to cereal takes water to produce – and lots of it. And severe droughts, which seem to have become increasingly common in recent years, are the most common cause of severe food shortages in developing nations. (Remember: no water, no plants, no food.)
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Human Rights Day, Dec 10

Way back on Dec 10, 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a revolutionary document that recognized “inherent dignity” and “equal and inalienable rights” of all people as the “foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” Pretty cool, huh?

This Saturday marks the 63rd anniversary of the declaration, and Human Rights Day, a celebration of  human rights and a time to honor all activists, supporters and defenders of the global human rights movement. Jewish tradition has its own notion of human rights – the ancient idea of b’tzelem Elohim, which says that all humans are created in the image of God, and should therefore be treated with dignity and respect. In that spirit, here are some ways for you to celebrate Human Rights Day – this weekend, and all year round.

  • Plug into an official event going on for Human Rights Day near you by checking out the UN’s HRD page.
  • “Like” Human Rights Day on Facebook and plug into their 30 days and 30 rights discussion.
  • Plan an event to celebrate Human Rights locally. Check out AJWS’ On 1 Foot website for texts and resources.
  • Make a donation to your favorite human rights organization (like one of these).

And be sure to check out the Human Rights Day video (complete with an auto-tuned audio mash-up!) below:

How will you celebrate Human Rights Day this year?