International Day of the Girl Child - October 11th
“The best judge of whether or not a country is going to develop is how it treats it’s women. If it’s educating its girls, if women have equal rights, that country is going to move forward. But if women are oppresses and abused and illiterate, then they’re going to fall behind.” - Barack Obama
October 11th is internationally known as International Day of the Girl Child. Many events take place at the UN to celebrate this day and to advocate for girls. We can do our part by educating ourselves and talking with others about these global issues. Take a look at this information below from the United Nations about the International Day of the Girl Child, also featured is the CSW 62 Girls Statement, which we helped to draft at UNCSW!
Why Girl Child? The phrase “Girl Child” is used in international dialogues because many languages do not have words for girl, therefore they resort to some form of ‘female child’.
Important things that impact girls: (This list is not at all extensive)
Lack of Education
Many girls have to leave their schooling early due to lack of sanitation resources at schools to handle their periods.
"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. 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." (UN)
“A girl has the power to go forward in her life. And she’s not only a mother, she’s not only a sister, she’s not only a wife. But a girl has the - she should have an identity. She should be recognized and she has equal rights as a boy.” - Malala Yousafzai
2018 theme: With Her: A Skilled GirlForce
"Today's generation of girls are preparing to enter a world of work that is being transformed by innovation and automation. Educated and skilled workers are in great demand, but roughly a quarter of young people – most of them female – are currently neither employed or in education or training.
Of the 1 billion young people – including 600 million adolescent girls – that will enter the workforce in the next decade, more than 90% of those living in developing countries will work in the informal sector, where low or no pay, abuse and exploitation are common.
On 11 October, International Day of the Girl, we are working alongside all girls to expand existing learning opportunities, chart new pathways and calling on the global community to rethink how to prepare them for a successful transition into the world of work.
Under the theme, With Her: A Skilled GirlForce, International Day of the Girl will mark the beginning of a year-long effort to bring together partners and stakeholders to advocate for, and draw attention and investments to, the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls to attain skills for employability." (UN)
UN Convention of the Rights of the Child - https://www.unicef.org/rightsite/files/uncrcchilldfriendlylanguage.pdf
Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women http://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2016/cedaw-for-youth-brief.pdf?la=en&vs=1243
World Bank - Girls Education https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/girlseducation
“Let us pick up our books and pencils. They are our most powerful weapon.” - Malala Yousafzai.
Commission on the Status of Women 62 - Girls Statement
We, the girls of the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women, demand the full inclusion and empowerment of all rural girls. Rural girls suffer from a triple-threat concerning the intersection of age, gender, and location. This makes it harder for them to expand economically, raise their voices, and feel safe in their own communities.
The lack of infrastructure in rural communities limits girls in every aspect of their lives, expanding the gap between rural and urban living. They are cut off from opportunities due to the lack of transportation, electricity, services, and communications technologies.
We call on Member States to provide easily accessible facilities equipped with trained professionals, specifically schools and healthcare centers.
Climate change negatively affects the lives of rural girls as it disrupts crop production and irrigation systems. As a result, rural girls must work harder and travel farther to find scarce crops and water. They are vulnerable to physical and sexual violence when searching for these resources.
We call on Members States to work towards making food distribution and storage systems readily available so that girls do not have to travel in unsafe conditions. Member States must ensure that rural girls are included in climate discussion so their needs can be addressed in the solutions.
Despite current efforts to protect girls, we must continue to combat gender- based violence. Rural girls are threatened by female genital mutilation, sexual assault, virginity testing, trafficking, and child marriage. These negatively impact their physical, mental, and social well-being. Oppressive cultural practices in rural areas reinforce these acts and fail to hold perpetrators accountable.
We call on Member States to make legal and counseling services more accessible, to implement and enforce current laws, revise all discriminatory laws, and break down detrimental cultural practices to ensure the safety of rural girls.
Education plays a critical role in solving many of these issues. If educated, rural girls would be able to advocate against violence, become economically empowered, and understand their environments in terms of climate change.
We call on Member States to provide girls with educational opportunities, enabling them to impart knowledge to their communities.
We, as girls, are leaders and are the best advocates for our own needs. Every girl has a unique and strong voice and it is time to start listening to each and every one of us.
United Nations. (2018). International Day of the Girl Child. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/background.shtml
United Nations. (2018). International Day of the Girl Child. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/index.shtml