In many parts of the world, June is a time to celebrate Fathers Day and all the meaningful contributions that fathers and father figures make each day in the lives of children.
We want to take this opportunity to recognize male allies who inspire and uplift girls and women everywhere. Male allies have a role to play in achieving gender parity around the world. When male allies speak up, get involved and take action, they can be game-changers: helping to transform cultures and institutions that hold girls and women back from reaching their potential.
In their Voices: Girls Share about their Male Allies
These loving tributes to fathers and brothers came from girls in our HerStory LitClub in Nepal:
“My brother always supports me and inspires me in different ways. He always helps me to solve problems when the problems come. I want to say thank you to my brother.” – Aasha Neupane, Age 15
“My father helps me with my career and future plans. He always says to me: ‘You can do anything, but you can’t accomplish it until you try.’ I would like to thank my father for supporting and helping me.” – Anjali Shrestha, age 14
“I want to be an engineer. In my village there are still girls not going to school. But my father takes me to Kathmandu for my studies. I love you father for making my life better.” – Shrijana Baja, Age 14
“My brother motivates me when I get nervous, and he makes my work easier. I feel stronger when he helps me and encourages me. I love you so much brother.” – Binita Jamang, Age 14
“Every time when I get tired or bored of my life, when I feel life is only about darkness, my brother has provided me a bright thought to motivate me.” – Ichhingsho Nembang Limbu, Age 14
“My father inspires me to be a good person, like him.” – Shristi Muktein, Age 13
Freshta and Karima, who participate in HerStory programming at Aschiana LitClub in Afghanistan, have this to say about their fathers:
“My father is a painter. He is a daily worker in Kabul market. Most of the time he is not able to find a job, and he is going for work and coming back home without finding any work. Therefore me and my sister are also working to support our family; me and my sister are selling water during the summer time. But my father tries his best to send us to school and study. He always encourages me and my sister that we should study hard and not work. He registered me for a football team so I could play football because I love to play football. My father is the best father for me my sister and all our family.”
– Karima, Age 12
My father is so happy that I am attending LitClub to learn something. He always encourages me, and is a good advocator for me in my family and in our community. Once my brothers told me that I should not go to school, but my father advocates for me and my sister that we should go and tells us not to stop going to school. I love all my family members but my father is special for me because he always supports me, and he means everything to me.
– Freshta, Age 12
HerStory Partnership Coordinators
We are also very fortunate to have two amazing male allies who work with us as Partnership Coordinators in our HerStory Campaign.
Moses S. Mambu coordinates the HerStory programming in Sierra Leone. He says, “I feel inspired, motivated and delighted when I see radical transformations taking place in the lives of girls, especially when I realize that I am an important part of the positive change. This keeps me happier and in whole, it happens to be the most positive moment in my life.” He goes on to share his ideas for how men and boys can be strong allies to women and girls in their communities:
- Men should see women and girls as equals in the community in spite of traditional beliefs and practices.
- Women and girls should be seen as partners in development with key responsibilities and leadership roles rather than doing domestic work at home.
- Barriers that hamper the participation of women in most activities should be torn down altogether.
- Men should always give women and girls the opportunity to showcase their potential.
Dan Martin is our HerStory partnership coordinator in Kenya. He appreciates his job because he says, “It has given me a chance to personally touch lives and shape the lives and perspectives of young people. It has been an amazing experience listening to incredible stories of resilience, courage and hope from women and girls of remarkable achievements.” His advice for men and boys on how to be the best possible allies is: “They must be willing to stand and deal firmly with aggressors against the rights of girls and women to education, social, emotional, and sexual health.” He adds, “Women need space to share their own stories and experiences devoid of male interference. They should find support in men and not fear that the same men will violate their trust.”
Today, please join us in honoring and celebrating these great male allies who are actively working alongside and in solidarity with girls. Not only do they uplift, encourage, and support the girls in their lives – they also inspire us all.