International Day of the Girls raises new questions
October 11th saw social and mainstream media bombarded with messages of discouragement and struggle from women and girls.
Women and girls took to social media channels Wednesday to talk about the challenges they still face in society on International Day of the Girl.
People shared photos of their daughters along with stories of how they were discouraged from pursuing their dreams in posts using hashtags in English and Thai.
“I studied archeology, but I wanted to continue my studies in maritime archaeology. Everyone told me the work was too hard, that carrying the oxygen tanks and equipment was a man’s work. They said the stuff weighed more than me,” wrote user Jo Tadpoleeleven in a Facebook thread. “Today, I’m the first female underwater archaeologist.”
Phetsirithorn Songwiphon told her story of wanting to become an aircraft mechanic:
“They said no one would hire me, especially if I wasn’t really good. Everyone’s looking down on me, thinking I can’t handle it. #discouraged.”
Bow Boo said someone in her family questioned why she should study at all.
“I study engineering,” she wrote. “My relative asked me why I was pursuing higher education, when my husband could take care of me.”
User Lilly Luna said she was discouraged from studying or doing things like traveling overseas, driving or construction work. Instead she was encouraged to wash dishes.
“They said, ‘What do you know about anything?’”
Other netizens posted photos of themselves as girls or their daughters or students with the hashtag #DayoftheGirl in Thai.
“She’s very healthy and gets sick only twice a year. She’s pouty, loves to eat and loves to go out,” wrote user Khun Mae Nong Yai Mai. “She loves to take photos, loves to dance…#PapaandMamaLoveYou #OurHearts #HappyInternationalDayoftheGirl.”
“This child has a bright future,” wrote Punnawat Amnardprasert with a photo of his daughter.
Not all women said they were without support.
“Since I was little, I have never been discriminated because I was a girl,” Pin Kunthinee Karunratanakul wrote. “I was surrounded by successful women, so much so that I felt that men and women being equal was a normal thing.”
The International Day of the Girl has been recognized by the United Nations on Oct. 11 since 2012 to raise awareness of social issues affecting girls, such as education and their legal rights.
The Thai-language version of Facebook’s International Day of the Girl post that appeared on Facebook feeds Wednesday morning:
“Today’s Girls, Tomorrow’s Leaders
On the International Day of the Girl, we celebrate the potential of every young woman to be a powerful voice in her community. We hope you’ll join us in wishing every girl a bright future.”