In 2011, the United Nations passed Resolution 66/170, declaring October 11 to be the International Day of the Girl (also called International Day of the Girl Child.) According to the U.N., “the day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.”
The International Day of the Girl has been celebrated yearly since 2012, each year focusing on a different theme. The theme of the first year was child marriage. The theme of 2017 was the unique experiences of girls before, during and after crises and conflicts. Girls living in conflict zones or in other areas in crisis are often overlooked as victims, but they are also a “source of power, energy and creativity” that should be valued.
Why does it matter?
Over 100 girls die every day as a result of violence. Over 130 million girls between the ages of six and 17 are currently not in school. It has long been acknowledged that everything from climate change to conflict can have gendered effects. In other words, girls are often uniquely affected – they have specific needs that must be identified and addressed.
The U.N.’s International Day of the Girl aims to do that. It dedicates an entire day to engaging in conversations at local, federal and international levels regarding the rights and plights of girls, it inspires people to support the girls in their life and it is a national day of action for many organizations dedicated to girls’ rights.
The following organizations are a few of many that work to protect girls across the world. On October 11, and every day, they deserve your consideration and support.
- DayoftheGirl.org DayoftheGirl.org is a youth-led movement that fights for the rights of youth and for gender justice. They believe that girls’ issues are intersectional and that girls are instrumental in leading social change. They work on a variety of issues, including reproductive justice, political representation, relationship abuse and sex trafficking in America.
- Girls Not Brides Girls Not Brides is a coalition of over 800 civil society organizations across the world. Their goal is to bring an end to child marriage. They state, “we share the conviction that every girl has the right to lead the life that she chooses and that, by ending child marriage, we can achieve a safer, healthier and more prosperous future for all.”
- The Malala Fund The Malala Fund was co-founded in 2013 by Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai. They work primarily in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Lebanon and Jordan. Their primary mission is to ensure twelve years of “free, safe, quality education” for all girls so that they can realize their full potential and bring peace to the world.
– Olivia Bradley