Why we might have more in common with Nigeria than you want to believe
177 girls are missing. It eats at me as I’m sure it does you. I read their names, imagine their lives, I close my eyes and pray for their safe return. Then I go back to my daily operations, as we all do, and listen to the radio that drones in the background of my otherwise silent house.
I sift through the headlines daily. Some make it into my container and others get scraped off due to lack of room. I can’t consume it all.
But today I listened and read more than I usually do. Here are the contents of what I digested.
The United States ranks 99th in countries for the number of women elected to office.
A woman is facing 7 years of incarceration after elbowing a police officer who she claims physically assaulted her.
Women make up only 3% of incoming CEOs and are 10 times more likely to get fired if they somehow miraculously land the job in the first place.
1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted during their college years and the federal government is investigating 55 universities for mishandling the claims.
And some much needed good news, the House approved creating a panel to study building a Women’s History Museum as part of the National Mall, however this is after more than a decade of resistance and has not come without fine commentary such as this:
So our girls in the US aren’t being taken en masse at night and then sold in the market.
But what is the story that is being told about them?
I worry that the story we’ll tell ourselves when we see what has happened in Nigeria is that we’ve made it. Our girls are safe. Even though they will be subjected to gender violence throughout their lifetime, even though they won’t have opportunities for equal wages and employment, even though they will not be viewed as worthy of being celebrated. At least they’ll have malls, right?
I care about the girls in Nigeria not only because they are children of the world, but because I understand that their lives are intertwined with those of girls everywhere.
“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time.
But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Lilla Watson
That is why I have come. Let us #BringBackOurGirls . All of them. And when they are back, let every single one of us who uses that hashtag make sure that we do everything in our power to make this a world they want to return to.