Because I am a Girl I ask …for an end to the body hatred perpetuated by some quarters of the media, especially endless scrutiny of celebrities’ so-called struggles with weight.
Because I am a Girl I believe …that life is too short to worry whether we are thin enough, pretty enough, clever enough, or popular enough.
Because I am a Girl I hope …the pay gap between men and women will narrow and that women will not have to work twice as hard as their male counterparts to earn respect in the workplace.
Because I am a Girl I wonder …why the courts system hands out such light sentences to convicted rapists and abusers. It takes an unearthly amount of courage for a girl to even report a sexual crime in the first place – lenient sentences make coming forward even harder.
Because I am a Girl I dream …that one day the media will devote less coverage to reality television contestants and glamour models and give teenage girls better role models. The story of 16-year-old Malala Yousafazi, the education activist who overcame being shot by the Taliban to address the UN, is a great example.
Because I am a Girl I remember …how my mother, who for many years raised me on her own, worked hard to provide for me. She studied at night for years to better herself, travelling after work to the next city to attend lectures. She brought me with her, and I would do my primary-school homework in the university canteen, pretending I too was at college.
Because I am a Girl I like …how so many women and girls seem to know that a problem shared is a problem halved.
Because I am a Girl I dislike …that men in our families and society are expected to live up to a hyper-masculine ideal and are discouraged from expressing emotion.
Because I am a Girl I feel …women are under too much pressure to conform to social norms. To all the people who make unwanted inquiries about why you haven’t found a husband by a certain age or don’t have children – back off a little!
Because I am a Girl I celebrate…women who are not afraid to call themselves feminists and stand up for women’s rights. I also admire the strong, funny women in my family who overcome adversity with grace.