EmPOWER Girls-International Day of the Girl Child

International Day of the Girl Child…… “EmPOWER Girls: Before, during and after crises”

 

Girl Child

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.

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.

Photo: UN Women/Gustavo Stephan

Background

On December 19, 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.

The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.

Adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years, but also as they mature into women.

If effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world – both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, and political leaders.

An investment in realizing the power of adolescent girls upholds their rights today and promises a more equitable and prosperous future. One in which half of humanity is an equal partner in solving the problems of climate change, political conflict, economic growth, disease prevention, and global sustainability.

Over the last 15 years, the global community has made significant progress in improving the lives of girls during early childhood.

In 2015, girls in the first decade of life are more likely to enroll in primary school, receive key vaccinations, and are less likely to suffer from health and nutrition problems than were previous generations.

However, there has been insufficient investment in addressing the challenges girls face when they enter the second decade of their lives.

Young girls performing at a special event, “Girls Speak Out: Showcasing Girl Activists from around the World”, held in UN Headquarters. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

This includes:

  • obtaining quality secondary and higher education,
  • avoiding child marriage,
  • receiving information and services related to puberty and reproductive health,
  • and protecting themselves against unwanted pregnancy,
  • sexually transmitted disease and gender-based violence.

As the global community launches the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for implementation over the next 15 years. It is a good time to recognize the achievements made in supporting young girls. While at the same time aspiring to support the current and upcoming generation of adolescent girls. To truly fulfill their potential as key actors in achieving a sustainable and equitable world.

Sources: United Nations

United Nations Women

Join the Voice to Make this stand: Global Goals

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