by Because I am a Girl

Maryam is a high school student from a rural village in Pakistan. The daughter of a farmer and youngest of six children, she says she is fortunate her parents support her education when many other girls in her community are married off at a very young age and have to leave school. Maryam, together with her brother, takes part in a children’s forum run by Plan Pakistan promoting girls’ education in her village.

It was these experiences and realities Maryam brought to the 56th Commission on the Status of Women as a girl delegate supported by Plan. Speaking out on behalf of girls in her community she provided a list of recommendations for her audiences which sought to gain a greater voice for girls and more education for parents particularly on the issue of child marriage.

“Here in my village," says Maryam, "parents don’t think girls’ education is important….decisions are made by men, not women. They consider women inferior and weak…lack of education creates many problems not only for girls but also for boys.”

She asked that the harsh realities and damaging consequences for girls married young be openly discussed and that these girls are encouraged and supported to dream and build hopes for their own futures. A powerful advocate for change in her community, Maryam says she is proud to be able to raise her voice on the rights of girls.