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Celebrate International Day Girl

Why We Need to Celebrate the International Day of the Girl … EVERYDAY!

Did you know that more than 62 million girls around the world have no access to education?  Worldwide and collectively, girls ages 5 to 14 spend more than 160 million hours more on household chores than boys of the same age do.  Globally, one in four girls are married before age 18.  Did you know that ...

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International Day of the Girl is October 11th.

Where does your country rank in the Women's Economic Opportunity Index?  See below ...

***** Don't forget to check out the really amazing compilation of short videos sprinkled throughout this article. *****

International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations.  It is also called the Day of the Girl and the International Day of the Girl.

October 11, 2012, was the first Day of the Girl.  The observation supports more opportunity for girls and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide.

This inequality includes areas such as the right to education/access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care and protection from discrimination, violence against women and un-free child marriage.

The celebration of the day also "reflects the successful emergence of girls and young women as a distinct cohort in development policy, programming, campaigning and research."

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Background

International Day of the Girl Child increases awareness of many issues and inequalities faced by girls around the world.

Many global development plans do not include or consider girls and their issues and problems become "invisible."

More than 62 million girls around the world have no access to education.

Worldwide and collectively, girls ages 5 to 14 spend more than 160 million hours more on household chores than boys of the same age do.

Globally, one in four girls are married before age 18.

Girls Opportunity Index

The non-profit, Save the Children, researched and compiled a 40 page report titled, Every Last Girl.  Their Girls Opportunity Index rated 144 countries around the world.  

Free the Children Used Five Indicators to Form the Basis of the Index:

  • Child marriage: one of the most extreme violations of children’s rights, often reflecting power imbalances and girls’ limited autonomy and control over their own lives.
  • Adolescent pregnancy: becoming mothers while still children themselves profoundly affects the course that girls’ lives take—often resulting in exclusion from education, entrenched poverty and social stigmatisation.
  • Maternal mortality: an extreme violation of the right to survival and to the best possible standard of healthcare. This indicator provides insights into the quality of health services that girls have access to.
  • Women in parliament: This provides insights into the prevalence or absence of women’s voices in public life and the likelihood of girls taking on political leadership roles when they grow up.  A higher proportion of female MP's in parliament has been linked to more attention being paid to issues that affect girls’ rights.
  • Lower-secondary school completion for girls: Lack of education deprives girls of opportunities and is linked to poor outcomes such as social mobility and economic empowerment.  Lower-secondary school completion represents the basic minimum level of education that all children must receive.  It is during the transition from primary to secondary school that many girls drop out of the system.

Check out this really neat video:

See below how your country ranked relative to others.

The 10 countries at the top of the index include Sweden, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia, Portugal, Switzerland and Italy.

The 20 countries at the bottom of the index are all low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The UK placed 15th, Canada (my country) a shameful 19th, Australia 21st and the United States ever the laggard when it involves social justice, a distant 32nd.  

Evidently, there is a lot of work that needs to be done and significant room for improvement from these western democracies.

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Dual Threats

The biggest and greatest threat to girls is child marriage.  It starts a cycle of disproportionate dis-advantage that denies girls the opportunity to study, learn, develop and be children.

When girls marry too early they are more likely not to attend school and face domestic violence, abuse and rape.  Having children at too early an age limits their education and work/career opportunities in life.

A lack of educational opportunities is also a significant threat.  Without a secondary education girls are held back in life.

Their opportunities to develop, grow, function, work and contribute to their families and communities are severely diminished.

When girls do not attend secondary school they are more likely to stay home, cook, clean, keep house and help with household chores.

Another really amazing video you just have to see:​

Awareness & Unique Challenges

On October 11, 2016, Emma Watson, who is also the United Nations Women's Goodwill Ambassador, urged countries and families worldwide to end child marriage.

Many girls around the world are vulnerable to acts of sexual violence and the perpetrators often go unpunished.

The Day of the Girl helps raise awareness not only of the issues that girls face, but also what is likely to happen when those problems are solved.  For example, educating girls helps reduce the rate of child marriage, disease and helps strengthen the economy by helping girls have access to higher paying jobs.

The Day of the Girl also helps to address and overcome the unique challenges that girls face worldwide every day.  They face discrimination because of their age and gender like barriers to education and opportunities to earn a living, early under-aged marriage, forced marriage and poverty.

These challenges need to be addressed early on.

When progress is made in these areas, girls will be provided and have access to tools to improve their lives and their families lives, thus, also helping to improve and strengthen their communities and helping them to escape from the cycle of dependency and poverty.

SOME OF THE BENEFITS INCLUDE:

  • For each additional year that a girl stays in school, her income can increase dramatically from anywhere by 15% to 25%.
  • A girl that is educated, more often marries later and will have fewer and healthier children
  • Women are less financially dependent on their husbands as sole providers of family income.
  • Young, educated women invest a greater portion of their income towards the betterment of their families than men do.
  • Women help build up and strengthen their families and communities.

Here is a really powerful video, view it now:

Visit our Pay it Forward Girl's Education Fundraising Challenge by clicking here.

Plan International Canada

The International Day of the Girl Child initiative began as a project of Plan International, a non-governmental organization that operates worldwide.

The idea for an international day of observance and celebration grew out of Plan International's Because I Am a Girl campaign which raises awareness of the importance of nurturing girls globally and in developing countries in particular.

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Plan International representatives in Canada approached the Canadian federal government to seek a coalition of supporters to raise awareness of the initiative internationally.  All political parties in Canada’s parliament adopted a motion for Canada to lead the call for a Day of the Girl at the United Nations.

Eventually, Plan International urged the United Nations to become involved. International Day of the Girl Child was formally proposed as a resolution by Canada in the United Nations General Assembly.

Rona Ambrose, Canada's Minister for the Status of Women, sponsored the resolution calling on member states to support Canada’s resolution to declare a Day of the Girl.  

See Rona tell the story in her own words in the short video below:

The Canadian government then met with country leaders to gain support for a Day of the Girl.  A delegation of women and girls made presentations in support of the initiative at the 55th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

UN Resolution: International Day of the Girl Child

On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly voted to pass a resolution formally adopting October 11, 2012 as the inaugural International Day of the Girl Child.

The Resolution States:

The Day of the Girl recognizes the empowerment of and investment in girls ...

... which are critical for economic growth, the achievement of all Millennium Development Goals, including the eradication of poverty and extreme poverty ...

... as well as 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 and recognizing also that empowering girls requires their active participation in decision-making processes ...

... and the active support and engagement of their parents, legal guardians, families and care providers, as well as boys and men and the wider community.

​Find out how YOU, yes YOU can change the world in the video below:

YEARLY THEME

Each year's International Day of the Girl has a theme:

  • The first, in 2012 was Ending Child Marriage.
  • The second, in 2013 was Innovating for Girl's Education.
  • The third, in 2014 was Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence.
  • The fourth, in 2015 was The Power of Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.
  • The 2016 theme is Girls' Progress = Goals' Progress: What Counts for Girls.

Events Worldwide

By 2013, worldwide, there were around 2,043 events for Day of the Girl.  Buildings are illuminated in the color pink by Plan International to draw attention to the interests of girls worldwide.

Various events to promote the Day of the Girl are planned in several countries. Some are sponsored by the United Nations, such as a concert in Mumbai, India. Non-governmental organizations, such as the Girl Guides Australia, are supporting events and activities for International Day of the Girl Child.

Local organizations have developed their own events, such as Girls and Football South Africa and will be distributing T-shirts on International Day of the Girl Child to commemorate the 1956 Black Sash march by 20,000 women.

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An all-day event was held on London's South Bank in 2013, which included theatre and film performances produced by Body Gossip, an organisation that campaigns on body image and mental health issues.

For the first International Day of the Girl, a virtual event was developed by Sage Girl and iTwixie to bring thousands of individuals and organizations together online.

In 2016, London held a Women of the World (WOW) festival where 250 London school-aged girls were paired with women mentors.

Also in 2016, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, issued a proclamation supporting an end to gender disparity.

This is a really neat video showing ... well you're just going to have to find out yourself ...

Limitless Unstoppable Girl Power

Girls and women have already changed the world for the better and the next generation has the power to magnify that change tenfold.

WHEN A GIRL ...

  • When a girl gets the proper start in life, her potential is limitless and she becomes unstoppable.
  • When a girl grows up believing that she can follow her dreams, her dreams just get all the more bigger.
  • When a girl knows that she can succeed, she works even harder toward that success.
  • When a girl has opportunities available to her, she shows the world what she can do.

A girl like this deserves an equal start in life and the opportunity to grow to her full potential.  The equality starts with the basic necessities of life, a proper education, gender equality, support from her community and the freedom from discrimination, violence against girls/women and un-free child marriage.

Working together, we can help create these conditions for girls in every country in our world.  We can help girls to do more than just survive but also thrive and take their rightful place as leaders in the world.  We can show them that education, gender equality and community support is, not just possible, but vital and necessary.

Our future as a society depends on it.

Since the 1960’s the feminist movement has made slow progress over the years.  But were still very far from where we should be.  In September 2015 at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development Goals, world leaders committed to end discrimination worldwide against women and girls by 2030.

But unfortunately, if we continue at the current rate of progress, it will take the next 118 years to achieve this result

But there’s good reason to be hopeful and optimistic.

Listen to the stories of these wonderful "Because I Am A Girl"  women ambassadors in the video below:

Melinda Gates article on Medium, 5 Reasons I’m Optimistic About the Future of Our Girls believes the future for girls is brighter than ever.  

Here are her 5 reasons, paraphrased:

  1. World leaders are listening, energized and taking action.
  2. Were closing the gender data gap and making real, measured progress in people’s lives.
  3. Were investing in and empowering girls and young women.
  4. Girls are helping girls.  Women are helping women.
  5. Girls like Malala Yousafzai, Anoyara Khatun and Ann Mitu are becoming leaders, heroes and role models.

Gates concludes, “The more energy and idealism I see from young people around the world and the more world leaders I see putting women and girls at the heart of everything they do, the more convinced I am that women and girls will transform all of our futures.”

Social media uses the hashtag, #dayofthegirl to track events and news about the day.

Women's Economic Opportunity Index

Where does your country rank?

The Women’s Economic Opportunity Index is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit that measures the enabling environment for women’s economic participation in 128 countries.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Women’s Economic Opportunity Index is based on 29 indicators that measure a country’s laws, regulations, practices, customs and attitudes that allow women to participate in the workforce under conditions roughly equal to those of men, whether as wage-earning employees or as owners of a business.

The index was first produced in 2010, with an updated index produced in 2012. Three indicators were added and 15 new countries were assessed in the 2012 version of the Index.

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The 10 countries at the top of the index include Sweden, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada and Iceland.

The 10 countries at the bottom of the index include Sudan, Chad, Yemen, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Ethopia, Togo, Cote D’Ivoire and Madagascar.

The UK ranks 13th and the United States ranks 14th on the index.

Discover the secret to changing the world in the video below:

Women's Economic Opportunity Index 2012 Rankings

RankCountryScore
1Sweden90.4
2Norway88.3
3Finland88.2
4Belgium87.7
5Australia87.1
6Germany86.3
7Netherlands85.0
8New Zealand83.7
9Canada83.2
10Iceland83.0
11Denmark81.3
12France79.5
13United Kingdom78.9
14United States78.4
15Portugal77.3
16Lithuania77.0
17Austria76.3
18Slovenia76.2
19Switzerland76.1
20Luxembourg75.4
21Hungary74.9
22Hong Kong, China74.7
23Ireland74.6
24Spain74.0
25Japan73.9
26Slovak Republic73.8
27Bulgaria73.5
28Latvia72.1
29Estonia71.7
30Israel71.5
31Singapore71.4
32Italy70.9
33Czech Republic70.8
34Poland70.2
35Korea, Rep.69.4
36Greece68.7
37Mauritius67.7
38South Africa65.3
39Uruguay65.3
40Macedonia65.3
41Mexico64.6
42Chile64.2
43Romania62.2
44Croatia61.9
45Costa Rica61.1
46Panama60.6
47Thailand60.1
48Brazil59.5
49Tunisia59.5
50Argentina59.2
51Montenegro58.2
52Bosnia and Herzegovina58.1
53Malaysia57.7
54Albania56.5
55Serbia56.4
56Peru55.8
57Ukraine55.4
58Colombia55.3
59Georgia54.5
60Moldova54.5
61Kazakhstan54.5
62Belarus53.8
63Namibia53.6
64Armenia53.3
65Turkey53.2
66Russia52.9
67El Salvador52.4
68China52.3
69Paraguay52.1
70Venezuela51.8
71Ecuador51.2
72United Arab Emirates50.8
73Dominican Republic50.5
74Philippines50.3
75Mongolia50.0
76Kuwait49.9
77Botswana49.9
78Bahrain49.0
79Lebanon48.7
80Egypt48.7
81Fiji48.5
82Oman48.2
83Nicaragua47.8
84Sri Lanka47.6
85Indonesia47.5
86Kenya47.5
87Vietnam47.1
88Honduras47.0
89Morocco47.0
90Azerbaijan46.8
91Ghana46.4
92Bolivia46.0
93Jordan45.9
94Kyrgyz Republic45.7
95Tanzania45.4
96Cambodia44.6
97Uzbekistan44.0
98India41.9
99Samoa41.7
100Tajikistan41.5
101Benin40.8
102Uganda40.4
103Saudi Arabia39.7
104Algeria39.7
105Bangladesh39.2
106Vanuatu39.1
107Malawi39.0
108Senegal38.7
109Laos38.6
110Tonga38.6
111Timor Leste36.9
112Zambia36.9
113Burkina Faso36.8
114Cameroon36.1
115Syria35.9
116Pakistan35.5
117Iran35.4
118Turkmenistan34.4
119Nigeria33.4
120Madagascar32.7
121Côte d'Ivoire30.8
122Togo30.7
123Ethiopia30.3
124Solomon Islands29.2
125Papua New Guinea26.6
126Yemen24.6
127Chad23.3
128Sudan19.2

                                                                                                                                                                                            Some of this article is sourced from Wikipedia.                                                                                                                                         Contents have been compiled, edited and remixed. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/.                                           Other sources include The United Nations, Unicef, Time, The Guardian, The Christian Science Monitor, The Huffington Post, CNN, The Edmonton Journal and The Times of India. 

Call to Action: If this post inspires you to want to do something meaningful and take action, please visit our Pay it Forward Girl's Education Fundraising Challenge by clicking here.

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Question:  

Do you celebrate The International Day of the Girl in your family?  How?  

Do you believe that girls can do anything that boys can do?  

Do you believe that in some ways girls are superior to boys?  

Call to Action:

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About the Author Mark Blaise

Mark Blaise is an idealistic, socially conscious content creator on a mission to raise people’s awareness while promoting social justice for all. He enjoys writing inspiring and thought provoking posts on social issues, The Golden Rule, personal growth and other amazingly helpful "stuff". His goal is to inspire you to grow and to be a better person by spreading more kindness, showing more compassion, doing unto others, giving back, contributing and helping make the world a better place, while living a truly happy, more fulfilling and inspired life.

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