International Day of the Girl | UN Women

A few years ago, I saw the documentary, “Girl Rising,” which narrated the stories of nine young women from different parts of the world who were affected in different ways by their access to—or lack of access to—education. The movie outlined in statistics the impact of educating girls, particularly how staying in school helps young women delay marriage and childbirth, and become economically independent. The domino effect (aka “the Girl Effect") ultimately results in strengthening local, regional and world economies.

The message of the film was so compelling, I wanted to quit everything I was doing at that moment and move to a developing country to become a teacher in a girls’ school. But I realized, too, that there were young women in my own hometown who were also at risk for dropping out of school and being exploited, so it wasn’t necessary to travel if I really wanted to be helpful.

Today is International Day of the Girl, and watching the UN Women’s video and several others of the same theme reminded me of my experience with “Girl Rising.” Every time we have an “International Day of the Something”, we need to know why this is important to each of us—personally. We can celebrate international days or months of ice cream, talk-like-a-pirate, sisters, friends, chocolate or freedom from self-help, but if we simply like and share without much thought, then we all make a lot of noise and we feel better about ourselves, but nothing really changes.

Because of our work with women leaders all over the world, looking after girls is really important to us, because these young women are the leaders of our future. They need role models and advocates and mentors and sponsors; they need opportunities, education, protection and support.

On this International Day of the Girl, this is our “why”—because raising the status of women in the world is critical to our collective future. The pace of change is too slow if we wait for norms to shift toward equality at the rate we see today. Let’s support and nurture the next generation now. Look around in your own community, neighborhood, school, congregation and family.

Who needs your support today?

We invite you to watch the video below and read the stories, and find one small way you can get involved or help. We want to hear what you are doing, so please let us know—on our Facebook page, here on our blog, or on Instagram. Share your experience and we will make a bigger difference together.

This snippet below is from UN Women website. Read the full story here.

 Photo: UN Women/Gustavo Stephan

Photo: UN Women/Gustavo Stephan

The Issue

There are 1.1 billion girls in the world, and every one of them deserves equal opportunities for a better future. They are a source of energy, power and creativity. They can drive change and help build a better future for all. Yet, most girls face disadvantage and discrimination on a daily basis, and those living through crises are suffering even more.

UN Women statement for International Day of the Girl Child

On the International Day of the Girl Child, let us commit to investing in skills training and education for girls and livelihood activities for young women around the world who are facing crises. Read more»

This year, International Day of the Girl (11 October) will focus on the theme, "EmPOWER girls: Before, during and after conflict".

Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence. In humanitarian emergencies, gender-based violence often increases, subjecting girls to sexual and physical violence, child marriage, exploitation and trafficking. Adolescent girls in conflict zones are 90 per cent more likely to be out of school when compared to girls in conflict-free countries, compromising their future prospects for work and financial independence as adults.

Across the world, empowered girls are raising their voices to fight for their rights and protection in all contexts. They are working to end violence against women and girls, to recognize indigenous rights, and to build peaceful and cohesive communities.