“Girls are the future of the world and we definitely need a day dedicated to their issues,”
– Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee
Tomorrow, October 11th, is the first ever International Day of the Girl. Last year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to establish a day to recognize the unique obstacles girls face around the world and galvanize worldwide enthusiasm to better girls’ lives. It is a day to not only celebrate girls, but a day to create action.
“The Day of the Girl puts a special focus on the needs of girls throughout the world. We know that in many countries girls get left behind in all areas of life from school to work and in the worst cases aren’t even allowed to be born,” said Plan Chief Executive Officer Nigel Chapman.
Now why is this day important? Why is there not a day of the boy? The reality is that tens of millions of girls face daily discrimination, violence, and economic inequality simply because they were born female. Girls confront challenges such as early marriage, forced marriage, child labor, and education inequality. They are especially vulnerable due to their age and complete lack of power and control over their lives.
Here are some of the staggering statistics:
• One in nine girls, or 15 million, has been forced into marriage between the ages of 10 and 14.
• ½ of girls in developing countries become mothers as children.
• Child brides are treated as property – they are bought, sold and thrown away at the whims of their husbands.
• Girls who complete secondary school are 6 times less likely to become child brides.
The artisans of Anchal are these statistics. They were born into this inequality that led them down the path of forced prostitution. One of our artisans was forced to marry at only the age of 14. Her husband later threw her out and divorced her at 17. With no education and little skills, she turned to the sex trade just to stay alive.
This is why tomorrow is so important, why an urgent response is necessary to harness girls potential by creating and designing a better life for them and future generations. Because when you educate a girl, you can break cycles of poverty in just one generation.
Help us celebrate our didi sisters around the world and end girls inequality by taking action now!