By Polina Pallieraki,
Discrimination and violence against girls in different parts of the world prompted the UN to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. It was established by a decision of the UN General Assembly on December 19, 2011, and celebrated for the first time in 2012.
The first International Day of the Girl focused on efforts to end child marriage, a fundamental human rights violation that affects all aspects of a girl’s life.
Data from international organizations demonstrate in the most characteristic way that being a girl in 2022 is not easy at all. Despite the progress that has been made in several countries around the world, there is still a long way to go before girls can lead decent life. According to the United Nations, 1.1 billion girls across the world face different challenges and problems that are not even recorded, so more and more coordinated efforts are needed.
Child marriage is a particular threat to girls worldwide. It is estimated that nearly one in three girls are married before the age of 18, and one in seven before the age of 15. About 700 million women were married when they were under 18, usually to much older men.
But this is not the only issue that today wants to raise awareness on. UNICEF estimates that 130 million girls worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation, 80% of the 800,000 people trafficked annually are girls, and 50% of all sexual assaults are also against girls under the age of 16. These figures certainly do not indicate a safe world for the female population.
Girls worldwide deserve the best, the United Nations says better education, better survival, better protection from marriage and sexual assault, better access to health, and a better future.
“Quantifying the challenges girls face is a critical first step towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for gender equality and removing the barriers facing the 1.1 billion girls around the world”, said the Head of UNICEF Data and Analysis, Attila Hancioglu.
The goals set are ambitious. However, the UN and other agencies hope that October 11 can be a rallying cry that girls around the world will emerge victorious.
Indeed it is important to emphasize that the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in 2015 embody a road map for sustainable progress and leaving no one behind.
Achieving gender equality and empowering women is an integral part of each of the 17 goals. Only by ensuring the rights of women and girls around the world will we achieve justice and inclusion, economies that work for all, and sustain our shared environment now and for generations to come.
- Παγκόσμια ημέρα του παιδιού κορίτσι, peace-ed-campaign.org, Available here
- Διεθνής ημέρα κοριτσιού, sansimera.gr, Available here