New Internationalist

Action And Worth Reading On Girls

Issue 240

new internationalist
issue 240 - February 1993

Illustration by JACKY FLEMING

ACTION

Organizations which focus on the situation of girls tend
to be those concerned with programmes for children and
youth, or with children's rights, or with women's rights.

Save the Children Fund
Autonomous national bodies in an international federation fundraise and run projects for children, in their own countries and elsewhere.
Aotearoa (NZ): 72-75 Taranaki Street, Wellington Australia: 56 Johnston St, Collingwood 3066, Victoria.
Canada: 3080 Yonge St, Toronto, Ont. M4N 3P4
UK: 17 Groveland, Camberwell, London, SE5 8RD

YWCA
An international movement with branches at national and local level throughout the world.
International HQ: World YWCA, 37 Quai Wilson, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland

UNICEF
Has national fund-raising and advocacy committees in many countries including Australia, Canada, UK, and US. It's the most active international organization specifically working on behalf of 'the girl child'.
International HQ: 3 UN Plaza, New York 10017

Childhope
An international alliance set up to respond to the needs of street and working children.
Canada: 5151 Mcdonald Avenue, Montreal
UK: 40 Rosebery Avenue, London EC1 R 4RN
US: 331 E 38, New York 10016

Defence for Children International
A campaigning organization on children's rights with useful documentation and resource services.
Canada: P0 Box 400, Postal Station F, Toronto M4Y2L7
US: 21 South 13 St, Philadelphia PA 17107
Switzerland: P0 Box 88, Ch-1211 Geneva 20

Inter-Africa Committee on Traditional Practices
Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC)

Works to end female genital mutilation by advocacy and programmes, through African member associations.
Switzerland: 147 Rue de Lausanne, 1202, Geneva

Jubilee Campaign
A human rights group campaigning against child exploitation in the Philippines.
UK: Box 80, Cobham, Surrey KT1 1 2 BO
US: 7002-C-Little River Turnpike, Annadale, Va 22003

ECPAT (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism)
A coalition of NG0s and religious organizations with national committees in Australia, Aotearoa (NZ) and elsewhere.
International HQ: P0 Box 178, Klong-chan, Bangkok 10240, Thailand

Christian World Service
Supports projects in the South concerned with girls.
Aotearoa (NZ): P0 Box 22-652, Christchurch

Community Aid Abroad
Undertakes advocacy and fund-raising for girls' and women's issues in the South.
Australia: 156 George Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065

MATCH International Centre
Works with women's groups in the South to promote a feminist vision of development.
Canada: 200 Elgin Street, STE 1102, Ottawa, Ont. K2P 1L5

Womankind
Supports projects affecting girls and women in the South.
UK: 122 Whitechapel High Street, London El 7PT

Change
Advocates the inclusion of gender issues in development planning and policy-making and undertakes studies and publications on women.
UK: P0 Box 824, London SE24 9JS

Anti-Slavery International
Concerned with rights issues, including those of children in domestic slavery and servile forms of marriage.
UK: 180 Brixton Road, London SW9 6AT

Foundation for Women's Health (FORWARD)
Campaigns to eliminate genital mutilation, primarily among immigrant groups in Britain.
UK: 138 King Street, London WC2E 8JT

Children's Defence Fund
Advocacy and research on the rights of children in the US
US: 122 C Street NW, Washington DC 20001

International Catholic Child Bureau
Undertakes data-gathering and advocacy projects on children in difficult circumstances, notably girls in prostitution.
Switzerland: 65 rue de Lausanne, 1202 Geneva

Worth Reading on Girls
The best summary of gender and development in childhood is The Girl Child (UNICEF). Much literature is now produced on 'children In especially difficult circumstances' but the gender angle is often weak. Among the most interesting are Broken Promise by Annie Allsebrook and Anthony Swift (Hodder and Stoughton, 1989), The Next Generation by Judith Ennew and Brian Milne (Zed Books, 1989), Child Labour by Alec Fyfe (Polity Press, 1989), Child Slaves by Peter Lee-Wright (Earthscan, 1990), and UNICEF's Innocenti series on urban children in difficult circumstances In the Philippines, Brazil, Italy, India, and Kenya.

On female genital mutilation ape Female Genital Mutilation: Proposals for Change by Efua Dorkenoo and Scilla Elworthy (Minority Rights Group 1992). On education, Women and Literacy by Marcela Ballara (Zed Books, 1992) and Strategies to Promote Girls' Education (UNICEF, 1992). On the US educational gender gap: How Schools Shortchange Girls, The AAUW Educational Foundation.

Still one of the most powerful feminist analyses of girlhood is contained in The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir (Jonathon cape, 1954). An important study of upbringing is Little Girls by Elena Glanini Belotti (Writers and Readers Co-operative, 1975). For a day-to-day description of very early social conditioning, There's a good girl by Marianne Grabrucker (The Women's Press, 1988). What is a child? by Patricia Holland (Virago, 1992) analyzes images of childhood and how they reveal changing perceptions.

The young girl can also be approached from the perspective of studies of the family and its history: The Family by William J Goode (Prentice-Hall, 1982) and The Family in Question by Diana Gittins (Macmillan, 1985).

On the culture of girlhood see Schoolgirl Fictions by Valerie Walkerdine (Verso, 1991) Feminism and Youth Culture by Angela McRobbie, (Macmillan, 1991), and A child in the city by Colin Ward, (Bedford Square Press, 1990). A primer covering Considerable ground is the collection of abstracts from the Alice In Wonderland Conference, from Marion de Ras, Free University, de Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam. An excellent teaching pack: Class, gender and race inequality by Focus for Change, 103 London St, Reading, Berkshire, UK.

Finally, fiction: Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (Doubleday and Bantam, 1989) on the vicissitudes of girlhood, Truth, Dare and Promise: Girls Growing up in the Fifties edited by Liz Heron (Virago, 1985); Alice Walker's Possessing the secret of joy (Jonathon Cape, 1992) on the cultural dilemmas of genital mutilation; and Sacred Country by Rose Tremain (Siclair-Stevenson, 1992) about a girl growing up who thinks she's a boy.

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