Today is International Day of the Girl! It’s the first one of them and there are thoughts out there, you might even be thinking them, like: We have an “International Day” for everything. Boss day. Dog day. Ice cream Day. Where does it end?
And shouldn’t we remember, protect, educate, support, and empower girls every day?
My vote would be YES- but we don’t.
School Girls Unite, an organization of students and young women leaders determined to advance the UN Millennium Development Goals related to gender equality and universal basic education, and other human rights issues, campaigned in the U.S. for this day.
“The Day of the Girl is about highlighting, celebrating, discussing, and advancing girls lives and opportunities across the globe and about challenging and changing gender stereotypes, discrimination, and opportunity.” October 11 has been officially claimed as the International Day of the Girl and they say it’s not just a day but a movement.
This First day of the Girl, there is a focus on Girls education, the eradication of child marriages and looking at the ways inequality hurts girls worldwide. There is a fight to keep girls uneducated and subservient and this is part of the battle against that. It affects girls in every realm. On average, girls who are educated get married later, have fewer children, and are at less risk of getting HIV.
Just recently the Taliban shot and took responsibility for the shooting of a 14-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, who attends school and wrote online about the value of educating girls. They sought her out and gunned her down, not just to shut her up, but to silence others who see what happens when you speak out. Horrifying!
Girls who can are fighting back. Day of the Girl is to support them, to remember them, to raise awareness about the value of girls education and rights.
International Day of the Girl is to counter gender based violence and discrimination. We must do this every day, but we also need a reminder in our societies to do it. This can be that reminder, one driving force, one glimmer of support and hope.
Girls and Women moving forward. The world pushes forward with them. Happy International Day of the Girl!