International Day of the Girl Child: Celebrating Girl Power & The Launch of the Obama Foundation’s Global Girls Alliance
In December of 2011, as the result of youth advocacy around the world, the United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. Its mission is “to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.” It’s a day to focus attention and to take action on advancing rights and opportunities for girls around the world.
The UN describes the importance of this day and supporting girls everywhere, “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.
“Empowerment of and investment in girls are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights”
– United Nations Resolution 66/170
Each year the UN picks a specific theme to focus on for the International Day of the Girl. October 11, 2018 is dedicated to the concept “With Her: A Skilled GirlForce.” Today’s generation of girls is 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 people – most of them female – are currently neither employed or in education or training.
According to the UN, “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.” This is a huge problem!!
On this 11 October, 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.
“On this International Day of the Girl, let us recommit to supporting every girl to develop her skills, enter the workforce on equal terms and reach her full potential.”
– UN Secretary-General António Guterres
Since the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child in 2011, the global community has greatly impacted the quality of lives of girls during early childhood.
However, there is still much work to be done, especially in addressing the challenges girls face in 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,” states the UN’s website.
Now is the time to support the current and upcoming generation of adolescent girls, they are key actors in achieving a sustainable and equitable world! 11 October is not only a day; it is a worldwide revolution!
The Obama Foundation Launches the Global Girls Alliance
An avid supporter of youth advocacy and in particular young girls, Michelle Obama and the Obama Foundation showed their support for the International Day of the Girl Child movement by choosing October 11, 2018 to launch the Global Girls Alliance. The focus of this new program is to empower adolescent girls around the world through education.
In promotion of this launch, they posted this wonderful video on social media along with this message, “We believe that change happens from the ground up, so we’re working to support grassroots leaders and to spur action from people like you, all around the world. We can accomplish more together than we can on our own, so I hope you’ll join our alliance—because the future of our world is only as bright as our girls.”
Learn more at www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/.
Words by Anna Beck Bimba