Today we celebrate International Day of the Girl, a youth led movement fighting for social justice for the 1.1 billion girls around the world.
United Nations created this day to draw attention to gender inequality and is currently working to combat child marriages and promote equal access to education. It is estimated that one in three girls in the developing world will marry before the age of 18, making them more susceptible to physical and sexual violence and cutting off their access to education. In 2016, approximately 31 million girls are still denied education simply because of their gender.
President Obama released a statement in honor of International Day of the Girl, saying, “Today, we recommit ourselves to the belief that when everyone has the opportunity to go to school, explore their passions, and achieve their dreams, our communities are stronger, more resilient, and better positioned for peace and prosperity. Let us keep working to build a world that is more just and free—because nothing should stand in the way of strong girls with bold dreams.”
Day of the Girl’s US Action Team launched two new campaigns, “In Solidarity” and “Menstruation Stations” to strengthen girls’ access to education. “In Solidarity” is a program to provide young girls with the opportunity to address sexual assault and harassment on their school campuses. This program provides girls with a toolkit that includes an outline of girls’ rights under Title IX and instructs students on how to present their plans to prevent sexual assault to school administrations. “Menstruation Stations” work to fight the stigma surrounding monthly menstruation and aims to make menstruation products more easily accessible to students.
Feminist Majority Foundation’s program Girls Learn International (GLI) is celebrating International Day of the Girl. GLI focuses on educating young students about global educational inequality and encourages them to become advocates for girls without voices. Similarly, Michelle Obama’s program Let Girls Learn works to expand education for young women in developing countries and fights for every girl’s right to education.