International Day of the Girl Child: Empowering girls on October 11th
Posted on: October 10, 2017
Being a young person in today’s world is not always easy. The expectations of school, family, work, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, or social media can make growing up challenging.
Being a young person in today’s world is not always easy. The expectations of school, family, work, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, or social media can make growing up challenging. No matter where you live in the world, some of the struggles we face can be quite similar. International Day of the Girl Child is a great opportunity to recognize the challenges you face and embrace your rights.
Why is International Day of the Girl Child important?
Young, amazing and bright people like you should know about your rights and opportunities in this ever changing, crazy world we live in. Even with lots of resources available for young people, this is not the case everywhere and a lot of change still needs to happen, especially for girls. Check out some of these stats:
- Providing one extra year of education to girls increases their wages by 10- 20%. - Every day, over 20,000 girls under the age of 18 give birth in developing countries, that's over 7 million a year. - More than 233 million women were married before age 15. - 2014 data shows that 41% or 25 million children of primary school age will never enroll in school – two thirds are girls.
It is quite shocking. But you can help by raising awareness on: getting a good education, avoiding childhood pregnancy by talking about contraception, avoiding childhood marriage, getting information on puberty, sexual health and gender based violence. It can sometimes be a bit embarrassing to ask or talk about these things, but it's important you do.
How to celebrate
It's time to get the girls together – and the boys too. Empower yourselves and take charge. With these fun and easy ideas you can make a difference:
Make a difference
Use your school or community center as a base. Why not organize an event with your besties. You could give a short presentation to your classmates – the more you talk about these issues, the more others will too! Get creative and make flyers to promote your event. Think about what you want to talk about – girls globally or locally, gender equality, or more specific issues like teen pregnancy and health rights. Invite a woman you look up to, to come and speak at your event. Talk to your mom, friends, mentors and see who would be the best fit. Or check out the World Contraception Day (WCD) Ambassadors Project, with young advocates all over the world who have own local initiatives to support the sexual and reproductive health rights of young people. They have some amazing people who could speak at your event.
Build awareness on social media. For inspiration check out this website, we established it as a smart and fun way to inspire young people to openly talk about topics they might not have originally dared to. Start sharing facts, relevant links and infographics or comment on other people’s posts. Get the boys involved too. Confident men listen and have respect. This is a team effort after all!
A night out
Get a group of your best friends together for a fun sleepover. Have an honest and open chat about your hopes and dreams for the future. Feeling awkward about asking some embarrassing and difficult questions? Then this is the perfect time to add a bit of humor to the situation. Some of your friends will no doubt be feeling the same way too, so get it out there – boys, girls, body changes, school – your friends are your support network who will get you through it. If they don't have the answers you're looking for, then ask an adult. School is also a good resource too. There are counselors, nurses, and teachers who are there to help. Mom and dad are also cool, remember they were young once too!
Start a club
There are so many great movies and books about groups of empowering women. So why not host a book or movie club you invite friends to? Boys and girls – it will be great to speak to each other openly. You’re all probably going to have different questions you may be able to help each other with. Pick a book or movie and talk about what these women mean to you and how they are inspiring role models. Why not make it into a regular thing? Meet once a month and maybe alternate between a book and a movie. Maybe you can even use your school for it or do it at your or a friend’s home. Find a heroine you can aspire to. Focus on what makes her great and how she's helping herself and others.
Go out into the world and explore it, the opportunities are there. If you want to get a better education, if you want to have a family, or if you want to follow a dream career, it’s up to you to take the first step. You've got to want to do it. Dream big.
 Source: Levine, Ruth, Cynthia Lloyd, Margaret Greene, and Caren Grown. Girls count: a global investment & action agenda. Washington, DC: Center for Global Development, 2008.