An international day is celebrated focusing on educating the public on the issues of concern and ensuring action for the same. Gender inequality as an issue has persisted in many countries including the developed ones. While women in one part of the world demand the same pay scale and other rightful demands, in some parts of the same world, certain girls aren't privileged to study and shape into a woman with her distinct voice. Hence, to ensure gender equality, International Day of Girl Child (also known as Day of the Girl) has been celebrated each year on 11th October.
The observance day supports various opportunities for girls and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. Actions are taken to ensure access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination, violence against women and forced child marriage. The day showcases the successful emergence of girls and young women as a distinct cohort in development policy, programming, campaigning and research.
The initiative began as a project of Plan International, a non-governmental organization that operates the world. The organization's 'Because I am a Girl' campaign raises awareness focused on nurturing the girl child globally especially in developing countries. Initially, plan International came in contact with the Canadian federal government to seek to the coalition of supporters to raise awareness internationally and then approached the United Nations.
Rona Ambrose, Canada's Minister for the Status of Women sponsored the resolution, a delegation of girls and women made presentations in support of the initiative at the 55th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly voted to pass a resolution adopting October 11, 2012, as the inaugural International Day of Girls.
Globally many development plans exclude girls and their issues such as education and healthcare. On October 11, 2016, Emma Watson, an English actress and United Nations Women's Ambassador, urged countries and families worldwide to end forced child marriage. Girls have been the prime targets of various vulnerable acts of sexual violence and predators around the world.
The day recognizes the empowerment of investment in girls that is crucial to the economic growth along with the achievement of the millennium development goals, including the eradication of poverty and extreme poverty. It focuses on empowering the girl child to ensure a better future for the family as well the community as a whole. The parents, legal guardians, families and care providers, as well as boys and men, are educated about the importance of girl child and encourage them to ensure active participation of the girl child in the decision making processes.
Each year a different theme is selected to support the girl child, the first one was targeted on "ending child marriage", in 2013, the theme was "innovating for girls' education", the fourth in 2015 was "The Power of Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030". The 2016 theme was focused on "Girls' Progress = Goals' Progress: What counts for Girls,".In 2017, the theme was "EmPOWER Girls: before, during and after the crisis" and in 2018, "With Her: A Skilled Girl Force".
The International Day of the Girl Child 2019 Theme is "GirlForce: unscripted and unstoppable". The theme is focused on celebrating achievements by, with and for girls' since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The iconic Beijing Declaration was adopted as a culmination of a conference. 25 years ago, over 30,000 women and men from nearly 200 countries arrived at Beijing, China, for the Fourth World Conference on Women, determined to recognize the rights of women and girls as human rights.
In the following years, women continued to work towards the agenda, leading the global movement on issues ranging from sexual and reproductive health rights to equal pay. Today, these movements have expanded and being organized by and for adolescent girls, and tackling issues like child marriage, education inequality, gender-based violence, climate change, self-esteem and girls' right to enter places of worship or public places during menstruation. Girls are proving they are unscripted and unstoppable.
International Day of Girl Child Worldwide
The day is celebrated worldwide, and various organizations come forward to support the organization. While some are sponsored events, some are by the non-government organizations. One can go on the official website of Plan India to donate for the initiatives they take each year to support the girl child from the marginalised section of society simply because they are young and female. Plan India organized 'Because I am a Girl' Concert in Mumbai, India in 2012 to raise funds for improving the lives of the girls through education, protection, skill-building and empowerment.
Besides donating to an organization like Plan India, one can also ensure a better future of the girl child by taking action on an individual level or by being associated with an NGO and upload the same on social media with the hashtag #dayofthegirl to spread awareness.