Imagine this. Twenty-five years ago, 30,000 women and men from nearly 200 countries attended the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. They arrived with the intent to acknowledge the rights of women and girls as human rights. And they succeeded! The signing of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995 is still considered the most progressive blueprint for advancing the rights of women and girls. It remains powerful to this day.
October 11 marks the International Day of the Girl! Its goal is to call attention to the needs and challenges girls face, promote girls’ empowerment, and fulfill their human rights. All girls have the right to a happy, healthy, safe, and educated life. Investing in girls transforms communities, countries, and the entire world. Girls who lead healthy, productive lives can earn higher incomes, participate in the decisions that most affect them, and build better futures for themselves and their families.
Despite the progress the world has made in the past couple of decades, many of the commitments made to girls are left unfulfilled. Every year, 12 million girls under 18 are forced to marry; about 15 million adolescent girls between ages 15 to 19 have experienced sexual violence; and 130 million girls worldwide are still ket out of school. There is still action that needs to be taken.
This year’s annual campaign for the International Day of the Girl is launched under the theme, “My voice, our equal future!" It will focus on three demands:
To celebrate International Day of the Girl this year, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast Regional UNICEF supporters and staff shared their UNICEF stories and why UNICEF is important to them personally. Jocelyn Dorsey, a Southeast Regional Board Member shared her story here. Sanika Salim, a Mid-Atlantic staffer shares her own story here. You can get involved by sharing stories of inspiring and courageous adolescent girls or girl-led organizations who are invested in positive social change either locally or globally. Encourage their leadership and actions, allow them to inspire others! Participate in youth-led digital activism to raise awareness and the diversity of girls’ voices. What’s your story?