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International Day of the Girl Child

The idea for International Day of the Girl Child came from Plan International's Because I am a Girl campaign. They urged the United Nations to become involved, and Canada went on to propose a resolution in the UN. On December 19, 2011, Resolution 66/170 designated October 11 as International Day of the Girl Child, and it began being celebrated the following year. The day highlights and addresses the challenges adolescent girls face and aims to empower them, with the goal of making sure they have full human rights and more opportunities. Each year the day has a theme, and events are held around the world. Some events are sponsored by the United Nations, some by non-governmental organizations, and some local organizations hold their own events.

Adolescent girls should feel safe, be educated, participate in their own decision making, and have a healthy place to live. If they have these and other rights during their formative years, they will be equipped with the tools that they need to help change the world as they grow older, and they will have what they need to become entrepreneurs, mothers, and political leaders. An improved world for young girls will help with overall economic growth and the eradication of poverty as well.

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, much improvement has been made in regards to the quality of the early childhood of girls. Not enough improvement has been made when it comes to the challenges faced by girls in their second decade of life. When it comes to stopping child marriage, attaining quality secondary and higher education, receiving information and services that deal with puberty and reproduction, protection against gender-based violence and sexually transmitted diseases, nutrition, and legal rights, more work still needs to be done, and there is still inequality. Some of these issues are intertwined. For example, when education is improved for girls, child marriages will lessen.

How to Observe International Day of the Girl Child

Celebrate the day by attending an event, whether it be a United Nations-sponsored event, an event sponsored by a non-governmental organization, or an event organized by a local group. Use the hashtag #dayofthegirl when posting on social media. You could volunteer to help adolescent girls in your community. You could also read a book about women's rights, or watch a film that features empowered women.

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