Today, Oct. 11, is the first-ever celebration of the United Nations-designated International Day of the Girl Child. Special events will mark the occasion in more than 60 countries across the world- from a rock concert in India to a radio blitz in Ireland.
The day highlights the liabilities attached to being born female around the globe and ways for girls to overcome gender barriers and realize their potential.
According to Status of Women Canada, the world’s girls are three times more likely to be malnourished than boys. Of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 per cent are girls. Each year, roughly two million girls between the ages of five and seven are trafficked in human slavery-sold or coaxed into the sex trade. Furthermore, the world’s girls are disproportionately affected by harmful practices, including early and forced marriage, domestic abuse, prostitution and female genital mutilation.
“International Day of the Girl will make a difference in the lives of girls and young women, as citizens and as powerful voices of change within their families, their communities and their nations,” said Rona Ambrose, Canada’s minister for the status of women, in a statement. “My hope is that all Canadians will use this opportunity to rally support for girls’ rights, and to educate the world about the vast potential of girls to help create a better life for all.”
On Dec. 19, 2011, following a two-year campaign spearheaded by the anti-child-poverty organization Plan International and supported by the Canadian government, the UN General Assembly formally adopted the resolution designating Oct. 11, 2012 as the first International Day of the Girl Child.