I’m so honored and excited to welcome a special guest today, who is working on a worldwide problem that is near and dear to my own heart. When I was a child, we lived in China for a year. Even at the age of 9, I could see how differently girls and boys were treated and was heartbroken to learn that many baby girls were never given a chance at life, based solely on their gender. Now that I have two daughters of my own, my heart breaks for those girls in a whole new way. However, the world is starting to take notice, through the work of people like my friend Beth, who is doing amazing work through her organization, Give Her Life. I’ll let her tell you about it in her own words…
Imagine: you’re picking your kids up from school, and as the kids come running out of the building, you start to notice that there are more boys than girls. In fact, a lot more boys. It almost looks like a bunch of the girls who would normally be in school have just… disappeared.
This is the reality in much of Asia, particularly India and China. In one generation, two hundred million girls have disappeared. Baby girls are strangled, starved, or poisoned. Or a pregnant couple will simply abort a female fetus to try again for a boy. Families face a lot of pressure that says that sons are better than daughters. Sons continue the family line, can go to school and get a job to contribute to the household, and will eventually marry and bring a wife and children into the extended family. In contrast, a daughter is nothing but an expense, and when she eventually marries, her family must pay her dowry, which can be ten times the family’s annual income. In response to these pressures, families are choosing sons and eliminating daughters. It’s called “gendercide.”
A few months ago, I was in India and was visiting an organization that has helped save some unwanted girls. I was talking with one of the girls when her grandmother came up, aggressively grabbed her arm, and spat out the words, “If it had been my choice, you would never have been born!” My heart broke as I watched this interaction unfold in front of me. But it’s not just one story.
Did you catch that number earlier? Two hundred million girls eliminated. Big numbers are hard to comprehend, so let’s give it some scale. That’s more than all of the girls and women in the United States. And that means two hundred million men who have no female counterpart and no hope of marriage, which fuels even more problems like trafficking, bride buying, prostitution, and child marriage.
But the story can change. Give Her Life is a new nonprofit that is working to end gendercide and help create a world where daughters are cherished and loved. We believe that communities need girls and women, and that girls shouldn’t have to be rescued. Give Her Life has developed research and awareness in the United States, but now we’re ready to develop programs abroad that will directly serve families to prevent gendercide.
I invite you to learn more about Give Her Life and the crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds to develop international programs. The campaign has gone amazingly well, and as donations go even above and beyond the original goal, we’re excited to use every dollar to develop programs that will help change the story for girls and families. With your help, you can make that hope for girls become a reality! Visit our Indiegogo campaign today, donate, and spread the word! A belief. A Hope. A Reality. Choose #Life4Girls today. You can make a difference in the world. Click To Tweet
Elizabeth Reno is founder and president of Give Her Life. She is a young leader who is passionate about healthy families and women, holistic change, transformational leadership, and pioneering new work. She is currently based out of Pasadena CA, but has worked in over a dozen countries alongside families, non-profits, religious organizations, and educational institutions. She graduated from Westmont College with a degree in Sociology and an emphasis in Cross-Cultural Communications. She is energized by learning or creating new things, being in naturally beautiful places, and being surrounded by vibrant people.