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Amplifying the voices of changemakers this International Day of the Girl Child

International Day of the Girl Child is a chance to recognise, celebrate and support girls worldwide. It’s also an opportunity to bring greater awareness to the challenges that girls face, particularly girls living in poverty. While we’ve made progress towards gender equality, we’ve still got a long way to go.

What is the theme of International Day of the Girl Child in 2023?

A new theme is chosen for International Day of the Girl Child each year to reflect contemporary priorities and the pressing issues faced by women and girls. The theme for 2023 is “Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being”.

In 2023, we’re witnessing a range of movements and actions detrimental to girls’ and women’s rights. Reports suggest that it could take another 300 years to close the global gender gaps. Around the world, girls and women are facing anti-feminist rhetoric and policies that threaten their legal protections. This includes increased restrictions over their sexual and reproductive health rights and free speech. Inadequate protection prevents girls from fulfilling their dreams. Child marriage, for example, robs girls as young as 12 of their childhood and threatens their wellbeing.

This year’s theme speaks to moving forward in achieving gender equality. We need to invest in girls’ futures to reclaim and accelerate progress and empower them to reach their full potential.

Amplifying girls’ voices around the world

To mark International Day of the Girl Child, we’re taking a moment to amplify the voices of girls and young women across the communities in which we work. Despite setbacks – in some instances this includes being denied basic human rights (access to education, health, and safety) – all speak to the innate power and resilience of girls. With the right support there’s nothing girls can’t achieve!

Here’s what they had to say about girls’ rights and gender equality.

Girls like Hai (17) are speaking up for their rights.

“Many people hesitate to speak their mind because they are worried about how other people will react. But if you stay silent, people might never abandon their outdated prejudices. Let’s speak up at the right time, in the right place, to our girls.” – Hai, 17, Vietnam

“I want to become a businesswoman. Women can do business just like men – they just need to have the opportunity. I want to go on to higher education and study in the city. I am confident to live far away from my family to achieve my dreams. What boys can do, girls also can.” – Nita, 11, Cambodia

“Women can work, we don’t have to be dependent on others.” Nhi, 11, Vietnam

Nhi (11) wants to earn a living to support herself and her family.

“It is critical that adults protect the child right to leisure, play, and culture for all of us as a collective. I am proud of myself to be able to do many things without fear of any obstacles. Both men and women have equal rights.”Manyta, 15-years-old, Laos

“In the present day and age, we should be able to get rid of inequality in our society.” – Aliya, 16, Laos

“I’ve never seen a female village chief. I want to see a woman become my village chief to show that women have the same capacity as men.” – Rasmei, 10, Cambodia

“When I grow up, I want to be a brave and strong person. I don’t want to ever look down on anyone because everyone is different.” – Chenda, 12, Cambodia

An equal future: supporting the rights of girls everywhere

Rasmei (10) loves to read in her school library.

At ChildFund, we don’t believe that girls’ futures are set in stone at birth. Every girl should have the right to choose their own path, access education and live life on their own terms. We’re committed to supporting the rights of girls and promoting gender equality in the communities in which we work. This includes supporting female leadership and championing positive female role models to inspire young girls to claim their rights and dream big! It also means a laser-focus on girls’ education.

Equal access to learning opportunities and resources is key to unlocking girls’ potential. Education helps break the cycle of poverty and create a brighter, more prosperous, future for all. Yet 130 million girls are denied an education worldwide. More still needs to be done to remove the barriers preventing girls accessing a quality education.

You can support equality for women and girls today

If you’d like to show your support for girls on International Day of the Girl Child, consider donating to our Girls’ Education Appeal. You will help girls in developing countries go to and stay in school by providing them with the learning supplies, resources and support needed to access a quality education.

And don’t forget to spread the word! Sharing information on social media or speaking with colleagues, friends or family about the challenges girls around the globe face can help raise awareness and promote equality. After all, starting a conversation is the first step to bringing about meaningful change.

Together, we can empower girls and help give voice to their needs.

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