Tara Suri Vowed To End Female Infanticide – At 13 Years Old

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When Tara Suri was 13 years old, her grandmother told her that rape was the fault of women.

The now 20 year old describes the experience as having ” fundamentally assaulted every sense of self and womanhood that I had.” Having also observed the poverty and sexism that pervades India, Tara recognized at a very young age the unique challenges that women and girls face in other parts of the world.

“While I am lucky to have an immediate family that supports me as a woman, I know – and at that time, acutely realized through my grandmother’s comment – that this isn’t the reality for many girls worldwide,” Suri observes, listing female infanticide, sex-selective abortion/feticide, domestic violence, and maternal health challenges.

At 13, Suri was inspired to found the organization Turn The World Around, which at the time focused on female infanticide. Suri and classmates raised funds for their cause through modest initiatives: baking cupcakes, recycling used soda cans, and selling crafts.

“We baked crazy-cool cupcakes including bunnies, santas, and rice-krispie turkeys and challenged inequality on the community level,” she says. “Our initial project was focused on raising funds for an orphanage in Chennai, India, where many girls are at risk of female infanticide.”

From there, Suri and her fellow members worked towards establishing speaking engagements and reaching out via the web and other forms of media. Now, the Harvard student is pleased to report that her project has raised $100,000 towards not just female infanticide, but also increasing access to education in Sudan and working with sex-trafficking victims. A family in Delaware has since taken over the original orphanage that Turn The World Around helped fund, and now raises “tens of thousands of dollars each year,” Suri tells me, for expansion and maintenance.

This week, Suri has been busy participating in the G(irls) 20 Summit in Paris, meeting with other like-minded young feminists aged 18 to 20 years old to discuss the global well-being of women and girls. Modeled after G20, the Summit acknowledges the important voices of young girls in solving some of the biggest economic challenges, tapping the important resource that is smart young women.

Selected to represent the United States, Suri is just one of 21 bright delegates pulled from hundreds of applicants to participate in G(irls) 20. She describes the Summit so far as “an awesome opportunity to connect to girls from around the world,” while also addressing “a range of perspectives” on the health and educational challenges that women face. She hopes that her work and that of the other delegates will encourage “the G20 leaders to focus more on girls and women.”

When asked what infuriates her most about the way females are treated globally, the Scarsdale resident replies, “Women and girls are considered a ‘minority,’ yet they make up 50% of the population. Across the board – in social, economic, and political processes – women’s voices are excluded, and it’s critical that this changes.”