The celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child on October 11 provides more opportunities for girls and increases awareness of inequality faced by girls worldwide based on their gender.
This inequality includes areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care and protection from discrimination, violence and child marriage.
The celebration, which is an international observance day declared by the United Nations, largely focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment 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 womanhood.
According to the United Nations, there are 1.1 billion girls in the world, and every one of them deserves equal opportunities for a better future.
“The girls 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’s celebration
This year’s celebration of the International Day of the Girl, on the theme: “Empower girls: before, during and after conflict”, focuses on the need for the global community to work to empower girls before, during and after conflicts. This is particularly important since 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.