Our time is now—our rights, our future
In 2022, we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl (IDG). In these last 10 years, there has been increased attention on issues that matter to girls amongst governments, policymakers and the general public, and more opportunities for girls to have their voices heard on the global stage. Yet, investments in girls’ rights remain limited and girls continue to confront a myriad of challenges to fulfilling their potential; made worse by concurrent crises of climate change, COVID-19 and humanitarian conflict. Girls around the world continue to face unprecedented challenges to their education, their physical and mental wellness, and the protections needed for a life without violence. COVID-19 has worsened existing burdens on girls around the world and worn away important gains made over the last decade.
With adversity, however, comes resourcefulness, creativity, tenacity, and resilience. The world’s 600 million adolescent girls have shown time and time again that given the skills and the opportunities, they can be the changemakers driving progress in their communities, building back stronger for all, including women, boys and men.
Girls are ready for a decade of acceleration forward. It is time for us all to stand accountable – with and for girls – and to invest in a future that believes in their agency, leadership and potential.
Ways to get involved
- Share human interest stories, blogs and videos of girl changemakers, and the inspiring networks and organizations that are resourcing girls, letting girls lead, and strengthening services for girls. Let’s collectively amplify their leadership, actions, and impact to inspire others.
- Engage government officials, policymakers and stakeholders to make more targeted investments that tackle inequalities experienced by girls, especially while accessing mental health and psychosocial support services in the face of conflict, forced migration, natural disasters, and the effects of climate change.
- Engage key female influencers across industries to be the face of change we want girls to see as possible. Role models speak a thousand words. Let’s change the global conversation and public perception of girl leaders.
- Amplify your commitment to raising awareness about and addressing factors that hold girls in your country and region back.
In 1995 at the World Conference on Women in Beijing countries unanimously adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing the rights of not only women but girls. The Beijing Declaration is the first to specifically call out girls’ rights.
On December 19, 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
Adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years, but also as they mature into women. If effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world – both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, and political leaders. An investment in realising the power of adolescent girls upholds their rights today and promises a more equitable and prosperous future, one in which half of humanity is an equal partner in solving the problems of climate change, political conflict, economic growth, disease prevention, and global sustainability.
Girls are breaking boundaries and barriers posed by stereotypes and exclusion, including those directed at children with disabilities and those living in marginalized communities. As entrepreneurs, innovators and initiators of global movements, girls are creating a world that is relevant for them and future generations.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in 2015, embody a roadmap for progress that is sustainable and leaves no one behind.
Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is integral to each of the 17 goals. Only by ensuring the rights of women and girls across all the goals will we get to justice and inclusion, economies that work for all, and sustaining our shared environment now and for future generations.
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Empowering women and girls and promoting gender equality is crucial to accelerating sustainable development. Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but it also has a multiplier effect across all other development areas.
Did you know?
- Up to 10 million girls will be at risk of child marriage. The profound effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are putting girls at higher risk of early marriage due to a combination of economic shocks, school closures and interruptions in reproductive health services.
- Almost half of primary schools in LDCs lack single-sex toilets – an important factor in girls’ attendance – and more than two thirds are without electricity.
- Girls are primarily victims of sexual exploitation (72% of detected girl victims), while boys are mainly subjected to forced labour (66% of detected boy victims).
- The global internet user gender gap is growing, from 11 per cent in 2013 to 17 per cent in 2019, and widest in the world’s least developed countries at 43 per cent.
- Globally, the percentage of females among Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates is below 15 per cent in over two-thirds of countries.
Source: Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021
Source: International Day of the Girl Child | United Nations