On the 11th of October, the world celebrates the girl child. International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated around the globe to raise awareness about gender inequality and take actions to improve the future of the girl child. The day recongnizes the potential of adolescent girls and organizations works towards giving them power and opening up more opportunities for them. Simultaneously, this day is set aside to address gender-based difficulties that young girls face around the world, such as child marriages, limited educational chances, violence, and prejudice.
The progress in the development of the girl child has not been as rapid as expected, with COVID-19 adding to the slowing down of this rate. In comparison to 1 in 10 boys of the same age, over 1 in 4 girls aged 15–19 years are neither working nor in education or training around the world in 2020. As per the United Nations, there are more than 1.1 billion girls under the age of 18 who will be the future, becoming the largest generation of female leaders, change-makers and entrepreneurs that our universe has seen. Girls need to be more involved in the decision-making and designing of solutions that impact their future to accelerate progress. (United Nations)
History of International Day of the Girl Child
International Day of the Girl Child was first observed by the United Nations on 11th October 2012. The Beijing Declaration, issued in 1995 at the World Conference on Women in Beijing, was the first to advocate for women’s and girls’ rights. In our history, it was the first blueprint to recognize the need to address difficulties and issues faced by adolescent girls all over the world. The International Day of the Girl Child was established as part of Plan International’s “Because I am a Girl” campaign. The goal of the campaign was to empower girls, particularly in underdeveloped nations, by promoting their rights and helping them to escape poverty.
It was then formally proposed by Canada at the United Nations General Assembly as a resolution. As a result, on December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution designating October 11, 2012, as the first International Day of the Girl Child, focusing primarily on the severe issue of child marriages. 2021 marks the 10th observation of International Day of the Girl Child. (National Today)
Importance of International Day of the Girl Child
The observation of such a day raises awareness and starts a conversation, urging others to take actions and focus on bridging the gender gap. Here’s how it helps adolescent girls:
- It empowers girls: Around the world, little girls get a chance to stand out and be heard. At least 60% of countries still discriminate against daughters’ rights to inherit land and non-land assets in either law or practice. (United Nations) While Women’s Day celebrates gender equality, young girls are recognized and it urges others to focus on issues facing girls.
- Creates empowered women: The adolescent girls of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Girls between 5 to 14 years old spend more than 28 hours a week performing labor, which is twice the time spent by boys. Young girls who are empowered, mature into liberated and independent individuals with a strong foundation.
- Eliminates gender bias: The deep-rooted gender discrimination can be witnessed even today, especially in developing countries. Around 33,000 girls are married off every year at a young age and about 96% of trafficked people for sexual exploitation are girls and women. The observation of International Day of the Girl Child brings forward issues faced by young girls like child marriage, lack of resources, limited chances at education and violence. (National Today, 2021)
Empowering young girls does not only lead to an equal world but also raises better people for the future. To get involved in the observation of the day, share stories of inspiring adolescent girls and of organizations promoting gender equality. Amplify their efforts and contribute to their cause, even with digital activism to create awareness and change how the world treats the girl child. Let the girl child thrive!
“International Day of the Girl Child.” United Nations, United Nations, www.un.org/en/observances/girl-child-day.
“International Day of the Girl CHILD- October 11.” National Today, 16 June 2021, nationaltoday.com/international-day-girl-child/.