The Day of the Girl is about highlighting, celebrating, discussing, and advancing girls lives and opportunities across the globe. When girls come together to talk about what really matters to us, we can teach other people–grownups, boys, girls all across the world–a new way of thinking about issues like gender stereotypes, discrimination, and opportunity. October 11 is not just a day but a movement. 10.11.12 is bigger than one issue, one organization, or even one country.
This successful campaign to establish the United Nations International Day of the Girl was led in the US by 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.
Its mission mirrors the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the International Day of the Girl Child, approved on December 19, 2011:
“To help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”
History shows that it hasn’t ever been easy to be a girl, and, despite awesome changes in the status and perception of women and girls,herstory is still a complicated and challenging one.
There are a billion reasons why we need the Day of the Girl, but let’s start with just a few facts:
- Illiteracy – By 2015, females will make up 64% of the world’s (adult) population who cannot read. (PDF)
- School dropouts – Only 30% of girls in the world are enrolled in secondary school.(PDF)In America, the dropout rate is worse for boys but one in four girls does not finish high school, and the dropout rate is even higher for minorities.
- Violence – In the US more than half (54%) of all rapes of females happen before age 18. (PDF).One in 5 high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner. Worldwide children as young as age 11 are forced to work as prostitutes. Some estimates have as many as 1.2 million children being trafficked every year.