[Brussels, 23 December 2011] The United Nations has declared October 11 as ‘International Day of the Girl Child’, following an extensive campaign by civil society organisations working on girls’ rights, such as Plan International and World Association of Girl Guides and Girls Scouts.
Girls face double discrimination due to their gender and age, and are the most marginalised and discriminated group across the globe. This new world day will help to prioritise girls’ rights as the salient issue in the coming decades.
The General Assembly noted that the day will create a foundation for advocacy to ensure that girls get the investment and recognition they deserve and have asked for as citizens and as powerful agents of change within their own families, communities and nations.
A report from the General Assembly says girls are less likely to attend primary school and make up the majority of the 67 million children who are not in school right now and can often find themselves married and running a household by the time they are 14. The report adds that girls experience more violence and sexual harassment because of their gender and are more likely to be trafficked and forced into sex work. This makes them to stay poor and pass on the legacy of poverty to their children and future generations.
The international day will also help in ensuring girls are given the same opportunities as boys from the moment they are born to break the cycle of poverty, giving them a chance to become empowered women, mothers, workers and leaders. According to the UN, investing in girls delivers a higher return than any other investment made in a country’s development.
Sources: Plan International, WAGGGS, UN General Assembly