My wife is not only my best friend, but she is my biggest cheerleader.  And she’s so beautiful a friend calls me occasionally because he’s convinced she lost her vision before we married. He keeps waiting for her to get it back. Hardy, har, har, har.

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She is funny, positive, encouraging, articulate, and intelligent. She’s highly educated and has an influential leadership position at an aircraft company.  I am a much better man because she is in my life. I have never once thought her as someone who should submit to me; she’s ten times the person I’ll ever be.

It wasn’t long ago women were treated at second class citizens or even as chattel in our own country. Within the last century, women have had to fight hard for even the right to vote.  Although glass ceilings unfortunately still exist, women exhibit excellent leadership in public and private sectors.

So imagine my culture shock in a refugee camp in Dedaab, Kenya, finding the most prominent sign was a 5-foot wide banner that read, “STOP FGM”. FGM is female genital mutilation.  From a few days old until puberty, girls are forced to have a clitoridectomy with any moderately sharp instrument. It can be a piece of glass, rusty scissors, or a sharp stone and all done without anesthesia.  In some instances, even if the parents are against it, others will kidnap the little girl and force it on her.

In addition to that horrific trauma, girls are often forbidden any sort of education and are forced into marriages as young as eleven.  The horrors foisted upon women are cruel, sadistic, and criminal. Just this morning, in our local paper, an article about sex trafficking in our own locale was so sickening I quit eating breakfast.

October 11, was the first International Day of the Girl. As their site states, “It is a movement… to speak out against gender bias and advocate for girls’ rights everywhere.

Shatter stereotypes  | End injustices  | Demand equality  | Change the world!

By nature, we desire fairness: We want the ref to call the same game at both ends of the court.  I learned some time ago in my passion to fight hunger, the core value of all that motivated me had to be the desire for the restoration of human dignity.

Here are some suggestions for celebrating the Day of the Girl (you can do it after-the-fact!)

  • Speak encouraging words of life to a girl you know
  • Coach a girls ball team
  • Help with the Girl Scouts
  • Thank your Mom
  • Write a note to a girl/lady you admire and tell them why
  • Create opportunities for equality wherever you may be
  • Get informed and take a stand against the oppression of girls

After all, a woman gave you life!

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