On Sunday, the world celebrated the fourth annual International Day of the Girl Child. Created by a United Nations Resolution in 2011, The Day of the Girl is meant to recognize the power of girls, while also addressing the problems that force millions of girl to drop out of school and not realize their potential.
The International Day of the Girl attracted support from numerous notable figures from around the globe. Chelsea Clinton spoke at The United Nations Children’s and Fund (UNICEF), encouraging girls to seek out strong female role models. Malala Yousfzai, a long-time advocate for girls’ education, urged leaders to follow through with their plans for providing education for girls throughout the world in order to achieve gender equality by 2030. First Lady Michelle Obama also joined in, releasing a Spotify playlist with girl power anthems.
The theme for this year’s celebration was “The Power of the Adolescent: Vision for 2030,” examining the progress for girls made in the last fifteen years and the prospect for achievement in the next fifteen years. In an effort to achieve gender equality, the organization further encouraged all member states, UN agencies, private sector stakeholders and the civil society to put adolescent girls at the center of all sustainable development efforts in the next 15 years.
The UN is stressing the importance of providing adolescent girls with a safe, educated and healthy life during their formative years. As girls grow into mature women, the UN’s goal is to empower them to change the communities around them and the world at large. With the largest generation of girls in history now becoming adolescents, the United Nations (UN) is urging key players in the development field to invest in and empower them in order to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
In a statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the world must “mak[e] good on our promises to give girls all the opportunities they deserve as they mature to adulthood by 2030. That means enabling them to avoid child marriage and unwanted pregnancy, protect against HIV transmission, stay safe from female genital mutilation, and acquire the education and skills they need to realize their potential. It also requires ensuring their sexual health and reproductive rights. Girls everywhere should be able to lead lives free from fear and violence. If we achieve this progress for girls, we will see advances across society.”
Media Resources: United Nations Statement of the Secretary-General 10/11/15