How Can Geography Help You?

This essay was written by me, Hannah Hogan and was submitted into the Royal Geographical Societies Geographer of the Year 2014 Competition on How can geography help you? Geography helped me learn about women's rights in other less developed countries, the kind of things these women go through, and how I can raise awareness.
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  Hannah Hogan“How can geography help you?”Geography being such a broad subject can help so many people in avariety of dierent ways and can be applied to almost any situation; from volcanic eruptions to tourism to “where’s the nearest train station?” However  want to focus this essay on how geography can help me  in particular regarding my gender and opportunities!  am a # year old white heterose$ual female% living in Great &ritain attending a si$th form college and studying my second year of ' levels! (ow let us switch to Hadiya% a ) year old girl living in *ongo% 'frica who is already married and e$pecting her +rst child! Hadiya has no control over her own body% her own temple! ,he has no control over her se$uality% her choice in motherhood% in marriage;she is seen as powerless! -his is simply horri+c!  am not trying to write or sound li.e a charity advert% or a poster% but what is terrifying to me is that  could be Haidya! ,o could my sister! ,o could my bestfriend! ,o could my mother! n this essay  am going to investigate how girls in dierent countries are unable to have the same rights and power as men are%and as  am in my country!  want to .now why this is the case; why in some countries girls are not entitled to education% but in some such as my own it is the norm and what there is we can do about it and why girls are stripped of their human rights regarding their bodies! n this essay Geography is going to help me gain awareness of the situation that hundreds of thousands of girls that are just li.e me are living in throughout the world! /et us start o with 'frica% a huge continental island brimming with ! billion people! 'ccording to the 0nited (ations 1opulation 2und 30(12'4 women’s participation in politics has greatly improved in most 'frican countries% allowing them some participation in legal systems as men are! 'frica now has 5 female heads of state giving young 'frican girls much needed role models% however women still only own 67 th  of parliamentary seats and ministerial positions in ,ub ,aharan 'frica though this is still progress as the numbers of 8uali+ed women are increasing due to many being able to remain in school! 9wanda has the most female members of parliament in the world at 7#: and reserves a percentage of parliamentary seats for women! (evertheless huge problems still remain! -hroughout 'frica% women are still unable to ma.e informed decisions about their se$uality andreproduction! n many areas young girls are impregnated as soon as their +rst period starts!  am now going to focus on one major issue of compliance in 'frica aection millions of young girls! 1ractises such as female genital mutilation 32G4 are carried out simply because they always have been and are traditional% or because neighbouring countries participate so others do also! 2emale genital mutilation is carried out on young girls between infancy and 7 years of age and has no social or health bene+ts according to the <orld Health =rganisation 3<H=4 and is carried out due to social  Hannah Hogannorms and the pressure to conform to what other people are doing and is also seen as a rite of passage to prepare a girl for adulthood! t’s thought to prevent girls from performing >illicit se$ual acts’ due to the pain this would cause and the fear if someone found out! -he fact that women are butchered in such a way that they become fearful of their own bodies and are controlled in what to do and whatnot to do with their bodies shows how far behind 'frica is in achieving e8ual rights for women! (ot only is this process inhumaneand barbaric but there are no medical reasons or bene+ts for this procedure! /ongterm injuries resulting from 2G include cysts% infertility% increased ris. of childbirth complications and death% recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections as well as severe pain%shoc.% haemorrhage and bacterial infection following the procedure! =ver )7 million girls alive today have been cut in the )@ countries in 'frica and the iddle Aast where 2G is concentrated according to the <H=!  -he graph 3ta.en from the <H= website4 shows the percentage of women aged between 7B@ who have undergone 2G% this is shown to be of the highest percentages in Guinea% Agypt% ali ,udan% Aritrea and Athiopia! @@: of women in Guinea have had theirgenitals mutilated and @#: in Agypt! -he trend on the graph shows that more women have undergone 2G than those women who have had one daughter who has undergone 2G suggesting that most of these mothers who have undergone the procedure are not putting their daughters through the horrendous practise% though a signi+cant proportion still are! n ali% #5: of women aged 7B@ have had daughter who has undergone 2G and CC: in auritania% which is still a signi+cantly high proportion of daughters still undergoing 2G! -he trend appears to decrease in countries such as (igeria% Denya and the 0nited 9epublic of -anEania% even reaching as low as 7: of women aged 7B@ have undergone 2G with appro$imately )5: of women with daughter undergoing the procedure! 2rom the data we can conclude that 2G is still a huge issue in some countries such as Guinea and Agypt but is only present in small numbers in others such as (iger and other countries are in the  Hannah Hoganmiddle such as the *Fte d’voire! <hy is this the case? <hat is beingdone about it?  -he 0(21'0(*A2 joint programme on 2emale Genital utilation6*utting is being carried out in # 'frican countries! n ) % )%#BB communities across 'frica made public declarations to abandon 2G compared to 7@C communities in ) % decreasing the number of girls having to undergo 2G!  +rst heard about 2emale Genital utilation last year at C years of age from a magaEine a customer gave me whilst  was over the summer! (o one had educated me in this before;  had no idea this even e$isted let alone the sheer number of girls that have been forced to undergo this barbaric procedure! 'ngelina olie helped to raise awareness of this issue on her visit to *ongo and heard the stories of young girls and boys who have e$perienced se$ual violence! Her own adopted daughter Iahara would probably have been a victim of se$ual violence of 2G if she had grown up in her home country of Athiopia! ' huge celebrity raising awareness does inJuence lots of people to donate% ta.e part and just help raise awareness of these problems on our earth that are happening to ourfellow humans!  -he use of social media has played a huge role in raising awareness of 2G; a letter from a ) year old girl from Gambia now living in /ondon with her family described her fear and terror that she felt when she found out her sister had had her genitals mutilated on a visit to her grandmother and aunts house one wee.end in Gambia! ,he was so afraid of being sent bac. to Gambia and this happening to her she told her class teacher who encouraged her to write to A8uality (ow! “ really hope you can help me% not to have my privatecut%” she included in her letter! -his letter too. to -witter and circled social media websites for wee.s helping to raise awareness to people li.e me whom have had no previous .nowledge of this issue!  -here are several campaigns against 2G such as the Kesert 2lower=rganisation and )L -oo any that aim to eliminate 2G in all countries!  hope to have raised more awareness in this article as this issue is something very important to me and  believe every girl should .now about this! ,everal issues remain in 'frica regarding gender e8uality such as education! -he illennium Kevelopment Goal 5M -o 1romote Gender A8uality and Ampower <omen has been achieved to a certain e$tent as the world has achieved e8uality in primary education between girls and boys% however e8uality hasn’t been achieved at all levels of education as barriers still remain to secondary educationfor girls! 'lso women are limited to certain jobs as they cannot gain necessary s.ills needed due to them not being able to continue to further education! -he aharishi ,econdary ,chool for Girls in 0ganda was founded in )L recognises the importance of education to empower women and escape poverty and now consistsof L5 students who are hugely enthusiastic!  Hannah HoganGirl 9ising and Kay of the Girl compiled statistics showing the importance of education for girls lives; ã Aducated mothers are twice as li.ely to send their child to school ã a child born to a literate mother is 7: more li.ely to survive ã girls with an education will marry an average of B years later and have )!) fewer children reducing economic and ecological pressure ã the number one cause of death for girls 7 @ is childbirth ã ' girl with an e$tra year of education typically earns ): more as an adult -he graph shows that in ,ub ,aharan 'frica% the number of children out of school% primarily female has decreased from)7 million in @@@ to # million in )L%however the progress is slow and millions of girls are still unable to gain access to education and vital s.ills simply because they are female!  -he graph shows globally that literacy rates for males are signi+cantly higher than females! ost recently% in )  the male literacy rate was @ !@: and the female literacy rate was LC!L:% so is still signi+cantly lower than the male literacy rate! However the overall trend of literacy rates in both men and women is increasing; inwomen literacy rate has rose from #L!C: in @L7 @@B to LC!L: in )  showing a positive trend that will


Jul 23, 2017
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