In communities around the world, fathers play an important role in creating more equal environments where daughters and wives can become empowered, and sons can learn how to stand up for the girls and women in their lives.
When a father believes in and champions gender equality, he challenges conventional norms, breaks down gender barriers and sets an amazing precedent that inspires others to do the same!
With Father’s Day around the corner, we’re proud to work with fathers around the world who are speaking out and creating a brighter, more equal future for all! Meet 4 of these brave and outspoken dads and see why they are championing girls’ rights alongside their daughters!
Kebebe – Empowering youth to fight FGM in Ethiopia
As a father and a headmaster of a primary school, Kebebe helped found the Uncut Girls Club after noticing that many girls were missing school due Female Genital Cutting (FGM).
“Most of the girls did not attend school for long periods of time around their procedure,” he says, adding that being absent caused girls to fall behind in their studies.
With the support of Plan International, Kebebe started the Uncut Girls Club as a way to educate both girls and boys about the risks and dangers of FGM.
“This has really made a difference,” he says. “Our community still regards girls as inferior to boys. My dream is for the girls to rise up to the same level with boys because I can see they can do just as well with their studies.”
Even though he has faced a lot of backlash from the wider community for his efforts to educate and eliminate the practice of FGM, Kebebe remains firm in his resolve and is determined to break conventional norms.
“My 9-year-old daughter has not had FGM and will never have it,” he says proudly, adding that she hopes to become president of the Uncut Girls Club one day.
SEE ALSO: Fathers fighting to end FGM in Ethiopia
Nazir – working to end child marriage in Bangladesh
When Nazir was 17, he married Sharina – who was just 14 at the time. And even though they are happy in their marriage, they both believe that girls should have the right to decide when, if and who they marry.
That’s why he’s making sure his 6-month-old daughter, Tonni, receives the education both he and Sharina missed out on. He’s also sharing this wisdom with the wider community.
“We have agreed that we are never going to make the same mistakes our own parents did,” says Nazir, “It is my wish that Tonni will become a doctor.”
William – standing up for menstrual health in Uganda
Menstruation is a natural part of life. Yet it remains a taboo in many parts of the world due to a lack of reproductive health education and adequate facilities for girls and women to practice good menstrual hygiene.
Many girls can feel ashamed and confused when they get their periods, and that’s exactly what happened to William’s daughter, Agnes.
“When this happened to me at school, I went home immediately. I did not know what was happening and I could not stop bleeding,” she says, adding that she was reluctant to go to school during her period for fear of embarrassment.
But William was keen to help Agnes feel confident and ensure that she attended school, so he went out and bought her all the necessary supplies she needed, like pads and cloths.
“Normally girls in Uganda do not discuss such matters with their fathers,” says William, adding that Agnes was afraid to ask him for pads, but to him it seemed like such a good idea and something he will continue to do in the future.
“Now she can go to class while she is on her period, and I think that’s incredibly important because it is better for her future.”
SEE ALSO: 5 things that keep girls in school
Vijay – championing girls’ economic empowerment in India
In India, it’s not the norm for girls and women to go to work. Of the 35 million young women aged 15-24 in India’s urban areas, only 9% are in formal jobs.
That’s why Vijay’s decision to let his daughter, Komal, work in the food service industry after she completed a Plan International supported job skills training program, came under fire.
“I came under tremendous pressure from relatives and the community for letting Komal get a job. But I wanted to stand by my daughter,” he says. “It’s not easy in our society for parents to send their daughters to work. It is particularly hard for me as it’s traditionally a man’s role.”
Vijay never achieved an education and it’s something he has regretted his entire life.
“I feel very happy to see that Komal is earning a decent salary and continuing her higher education,” he says. “We are regularly reminded to get Komal married but I have assured her that it won’t happen unless she is ready. I want her to be successful.”
Celebrate the inspiring dad in your life!
This Father’s Day, honour your dad by empowering other dads around the world to stand up and make a difference!