Our Christmas Big Give Challenge, “Hidden from Sight”, shines a light on the realities and inequalities street girls face so that their struggles are addressed and taken into account in practice and policy. Here are 7 additional ways to take part in our Christmas challenge to show your support for girls and women
1. Use your virtual voice
On social networks, promote campaigns or ideas that strengthen women’s networks or are led by women. Help multiply generous acts by joining causes that have women’s empowerment at their core. A simple like or a supportive comment could be very meaningful and shows the advocate that they are supported by a caring community. Support young activists to mobilise and help end violence against street girls by sharing their stories with friends, family, or broader networks. Celebrate their achievements and help change the conversation.
2. Listen to and believe street girls and women.
Girls and women with experiences living on the streets are experts in their own realities. Give them your attention and listen to them. Remember that what they have to tell you is of unmatched value to them, so treat it respectfully. Girls and women who speak out do so because they have something to teach us, which can help eliminate harmful practices. By listening to what they have to say, you are helping all those who work with and for street children to educate themselves and improve ways of responding to them.
3. Call for answers and services that are fit for street girls and women.
The services provided to street girls are essential and specialised. The type of care they should receive, including during emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, must include a gender perspective to protect them from the gender-specific abuses they might be subjected to.
Join the voices urging governments to ensure that street girls are given the quality services they need and demand that States put in more effort to collect evidence to help improve the existing services for street girls and women.
Offer your knowledge, skills, and time to an organisation in your community that empowers women and girls. Reach out and ask them what kind of support they need. They already have a good understanding of the local scenario and know exactly where your help is needed.
5. Learn about gender stereotypes & include women and girls in decision-making
Reflect on whether gender bias in your home, work, or community may be overlooked. Numerous online resources allow you to understand why certain attitudes must be eliminated. We often allow attitudes that harm women and girls without realising it. Reflecting on these attitudes will enable us to act so that they are not repeated and do not continue to cause harm.
The proper involvement of women and girls at all levels, including those living on the street, is vital to safeguard progress in advancing gender equality and promoting more inclusive societies. Ideas about the role of women must be changed, and barriers must be removed for girls and women to lead and participate in decision making at all levels.
6. Keep girls in the classrooms
Many girls and street girls who attend school see their studies affected by conditions that are not always under their control, thus pushing them away from finishing their primary studies. Tackling the causes that drive girls out of school will give them more agency over their lives and decisions, allow them to learn about their rights, and push them to demand better outcomes. Education and skills learning empower girls to make choices and become independent.
COVID-19 has caused multiple hardships to societies around the world. While the road to recovery will be long and arduous, empowering and supporting girls and women will begin the journey sustainably and inclusively.
7. Donate to local organisations that help women and girls amplify their voices.
Street girls and women face multiple forms of oppression that further reduce their power and decision-making influence. They are at greater risk of violence and face a higher number of barriers to accessing care and support. The emergence of the pandemic across the world has shown us how critical it is that we do not return to the old normal but build better, safer and more equal communities for all.
CSC launched its first women and girls working group a year ago. Since then, it has become a platform for member organisations to share and capture different methodologies for working with women and girls, sharing expertise, and reflecting on ways to strengthen this vital work within the network.
One of the group’s objectives is to advance the rights of street women and girls. Our most recent Christmas challenge focuses on working together with our members to highlight street girls’ current needs and expand the research needed on their experiences.