by Jenny Fitz, M.S.T., W.P.I.C.C
Founder FEMM International & Owner Serendipity Studios

As a mother, daughter, sister, and aunt, it is hard for me to imagine that my own family would have forced me to be a child-bride, or sold me into slavery, or allowed my body to be mutilated. It is hard for me to imagine that my own parents would have traded my six year old self for money from elitist pedophiles, or that they would ship me off to landfill sites and deny me an education because I would potentially bring home scrap metal to be sold in the market. It is undeniably hard for me to imagine any of this because I am one of the “lucky ones.” To be born and raised in a country where so many take for granted access to clean drinking water, access to public education, and access to resources to build a future.

Why is it that females are the ones who suffer the most and are the ones who are disrespected, denied education, forced into unimaginable situations, and left without a voice?

There are over 130 million girls who are denied an education, 200 million girls who have suffered genital mutilation and over 700 million girls who were forced into marriage before the age of 18. To put this into perspective, there are 37 million people living in Canada, and so just imagine for one second how BIG this problem is.

Unimaginable right?

Now imagine that these girls were treated fairly, provided access to an education, and resources to build their future. Gender equality isn’t just about saying that girls should have a voice, it is about GIVING them a voice. It is about giving them respect and opportunity to grow and be a part of a society that nurtures knowledge. This knowledge would then be used to impact entire communities in positive ways, because it is undeniable that when women are given opportunity, they make the most of it. When you give a girl her voice, you give her freedom. You give her the freedom to choose, to grow, and to contribute to a world that we all share. Let’s achieve gender equality and empower women and girls in every community and from all walks of life.

More About Jen Fitzpatrick

Jen Fitzpatrick is a Mom of 2, TEDx Speaker, International Best Selling Author, Educator, Professional Photographer, Certified Wedding Planner, Humanitarian, and an Advocate for the Rights of Women & Children. Jen is the founder of FEMM International, a global organization that inspires and emboldens youth and women to create a positive impact in their communities and around the world. With an extensive background in teaching, marketing, and networking, Jen has created an exceptional company that strives to educate entrepreneurs and business leaders about gender equality, illiteracy, and poverty. She believes that it is the responsibility of successful entrepreneurs, global leaders, and educators to share their knowledge and resources to create necessary change for a sustainable future.