The United Nations has declared tomorrow – 10/11/12 for you number nerds out there – as the International Day of the Girl Child. Why a special day just for girls? Because girls are awesome. OK, that’s not the OFFICIAL reason, but it is the truth – just ask my five nieces.
The official reason – in UN terms – is to recognize that “empowerment of and investment in girls (and) the meaningful participation of girls in decisions that affect them, are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights.”
After all, the world’s girls still have a long way to go before they’re truly equal to their brothers:
- Girls are less likely to be educated. 140 million children around the world are not in school, and more than half of them are girls. And when girls fight for their rights, sometimes they get shot.
- Girls are more likely to be married far too young. It’s estimated that every year, 10 million girls are brides before they turn 18. In some African, Middle Eastern and South Asian countries, half of girls are married before age 18.
- Girls who marry young often suffer medical problems. Sadly, the leading cause of death for teen girls age 15-19 worldwide is pregnancy and childbirth complications. Girls who should be enjoying being kids are having kids instead.
- Girls and women are more likely to suffer from poverty. According to CARE, 70 percent of the 1 billion people who live on less than a dollar per day are women and girls.
So that’s the bad stuff. The good news is that when we change the lives of girls, we can change the lives of whole families, villages and nations.
Girls have the power to change the world! On the International Day of the Girl, take a minute to tell the girls you know just that.
--Amy Phillips Bursch, Media Relations Manager