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What is International Day of the Girl Child?

International Day of the Girl Child is held annually on 11 October. Established by the United Nations (UN), this day is an opportunity to bring greater awareness to the particular challenges facing girls, particularly those living in poverty.

It is also a chance to celebrate girls’ achievements, promote empowerment, and advocate for the fulfilment of human rights for girls around the globe. 

In celebration of International Day of the Girl Child, we’re taking a moment to pause and reflect on what the day means, and how you can mark the occasion yourself. 

What is the origin of International Day of the Girl Child?

Twenty-five years ago, the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women was held, More than 30,000 people from 200 countries gathered in Beijing to recognise the human rights of women and girls.

This conference led to the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which is the most comprehensive policy agenda for the empowerment of women. It was the first UN declaration that was specifically for girls and women’s rights. 

On 19 December 2011 the UN adopted Resolution 66/170 which declared 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child. It was decided this day would be used to bring awareness to issues faced by girls around the world, including: 

  • access to education;
  • child marriage;
  • gender-based violence; and
  • sexual and reproductive rights. 

Each year a different theme is attached to the day, to keep the occasion current with contemporary priorities, and the pressing issues faced by women and girls.

What is the theme of International Day of the Girl Child in 2021?

Two sisters hug out the front of their home in Cambodia

This year’s theme is “Digital generation. Our generation.” Throughout the global pandemic, the need for digital platforms for earning, learning and connecting, however, for some 2.2 billion younger than 25, they still do not have internet access at home.

According to UNICEF, girls are more likely to be disconnected, with the gender gap for global internet users growing from 11 percent in 2013 to 17 percent in 2019. This is starkly contrasted in the world’s least developed countries where it sits around 43 percent.

How you can get involved with International Day of the Girl Child activities

You can get involved with International Day of the Girl Child by spreading awareness about the challenges facing girls around the globe, or by donating to a cause that implements programs to improve the lives of girls. 

Spreading awareness and educating people around you is an important role you can play. You can do this by sharing information on your social media or start a conversation with colleagues, friends or family. 

Another way you can get involved is by donating money to charities helping girls and young women in developing countries. One of the biggest challenges girls face is access to education. 

At ChildFund, our work in education is focused on ensuring that girls have equal access to school and learning opportunities. This includes offering girls in South East Asia school scholarships, which cover tuition costs and provides girls with the supplies resources they need to stay in school. 

If you’d like to show your support for girls on International Day of the Girl Child, consider donating one of our scholarships to a young girl. 

You might also like to get a group together at work to contribute, as part of a workplace giving or corporate social responsibility program.

An equal future: supporting the rights of girls everywhere

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. 

Together, let’s empower girls and young women with the opportunities they need to succeed. If you would like to help girls in developing countries you can purchase a scholarship for a girl as a one-off donation or sponsor a girl monthly to provide life-changing support. 

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