Monday, January 25, 2016
'Like a Girl' anthology
Fourteen Authors from around the world have contributed their stories to raise money for PLAN Australia. 'Like a Girl' is a celebration of the strength and resilience of women, told in a variety of genres and voices, the proceeds of which will help empower girls and women all over the world. Featuring stories and poems by Jeanette O'Hagan, Avril Sabine, V. Hartman Di Santo, Kathryn Hagan, Mary Grace, Coralyn Swift, Christina Aitken, Mark Taylor, D.L Richardson, Mimi Emmanuel, Erin Yoshikawa, Druscilla Morgan, Michelle John and Mirren Hogan.
This blog tour was started by Jeanette O'Hagan, one of the contributors and authors who helped put this anthology together. Having practised medicine, taught theology, and recently earned a master's degree in creative writing, she's well qualified to talk about the importance of education for girls. She's also working on a fascinating fantasy adventure series. You can visit her blog here.
When I received an opportunity to read this anthology and join the blog tour, I was happy to jump on board. For a start, I was interested to see how these 14 authors would address the topic of education for girls. Many people assume that modern women of the western world have now been liberated for years, and that equal opportunities abound in tertiary education institutions and workforces. I don't really buy into that. It's true we've come a long way since the early twentieth century, when suffragettes and feminists changed the world for women, but roadblocks still face females everywhere. They might be even harder to smash, for being embedded in attitudes rather than solid and in our face.
Sadly, many females assume stressful lives are the norm, and I believe it's partly because we tend to find ourselves in a no-win situation when it comes to earning approval. Many males probably don't face the same sort of implicit judgment no matter what they choose, but females still tend to come up against either a rock or a hard place. Those who devote years of service to keeping a home and rearing children are said to have 'settled' for a life of drudgery and self-sacrifice, while those who choose career are criticised by many for neglecting family, their most precious resource. And those women who try to juggle both may find themselves exhausted from performing this emotional balancing act 24/7, since either focus, work or family, has the potential to demand our all.
That's why I find stories like these refreshing, and they make an impact when they're bound in one unique collection like this. They show that every girl deserves support in whatever path she chooses, and no other person has a right to question those choices or try to stop her. Pursuing a consuming career is fine, and may empower us to make our own positive mark on society. Becoming a household manager is also fine, and certainly involves a lot of finesse and fine-tuning.
Throughout these stories, I noticed other subtle but huge pressures borne on the shoulders of girls everywhere. (Or maybe you find them not so subtle in your own life. Either way, they seem to get us all at one time or another.) That's the pressure to fit in, earn nods of approval from influential crowds, and look pretty. We hate that physical appearance has to be such a pervasive criteria for women, yet we still buy into it. Some of the girls in these stories have refreshing takes on that one.
The girls you'll find in these pages come from a variety of places and times. Fantasy worlds, simple, native worlds, suburbia as we know it, space missions. Some are involved in life rescuing missions. What they all share is a thirst to learn and drive to follow their passions, despite discouragement from outside sources. I congratulate everyone who worked on this book, for the final product.
I consider myself fortunate to have been able to educate my three children at home at the same time as working on writing novels. Having had unlimited access to books and other sources of knowledge, I'd love to see the same for any other woman who desires it.
Next stop in line will be the blog of Mimi Emmanuel, who loves to share words of joy and peace through her writing, and delving deep into the words of Scripture. You'll find her blog here.
Like A Girl anthology is available for purchase from the following sites.
As a print copy from Amazon
As a kindle copy from Amazon
The profits earned from sales of this book will be donated to PLAN Australia, who are dedicated to improving education standards across the world for girls.