I have a little girl. She was two years old last week. Her life stretches ahead of her, like an unread book. I don’t know what it will contain, only that I will do my very best to fill it with smiles, amazing experiences and laughter.
I want my little girl to have choice.
In fact, this is something I take entirely for granted. I assume that because she lives in the UK, with access to sex education, equality and healthcare, she will have choices.
When the time comes, I assume that she will choose if she wants to become a mother – or when she wants to become a mother. I hope that she will make this decision as I did, after much thought and debate, with someone she loves. At the very least, I hope the decision will be an informed one, made as a woman and not a child.
This is something women all over the world wish for their children, their young girls. But it’s not always a wish that becomes a reality.
I was meant to be in London tonight. I was going to go to an inspirational dinner hosted by Save the Children. I was going to meet some incredible women with incredible stories.
But I am sick. I am exhausted and ill and barely have the energy to put my fingers to the keyboard. Except that, from somewhere, I’ve managed to raise the last drops of energy I have this evening to write this – because it’s bloody important.
On Wednesday David Cameron is hosting a family planning summit. It’s a ground-breaking, rare opportunity to help girls and women make decisions over their future as mothers. It’s a chance to help these girls have the same access to contraception and CHOICE that I wish for my own daughter when she grows up.
There are 222 million women in developing countries who don’t have access to contraceptives, according to Save the Children.
222 million women. That’s a lot of women. A lot of women who can’t get contraceptives, but want them. A lot of women who have had the basic right of choice taken away from them.
You can read more about some of these women in this eye-opening article from Zoe Williams in The Guardian.
And if you want to do something about it you can sign this online petition to let David Cameron know you back action for change for these women.
Maybe, just maybe, it will help some of these 222 million women access sex education, health care and contraceptives. The basic stuff we take for granted over here.
Maybe, just maybe, it’ll help give these women some sort of choice.