In 2012, the United Nations declared that Oct. 11 would be known as the International Day of the Girl. International Day of the Girl was created to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face around the world and working to promote female empowerment and their human rights.
The 2017, International Day of the Girl is about beginning a year-long effort to bring attention to the challenges and opportunities girls around the world are facing during times of crises and to take action to help them.
The theme for 2017 is “EmPOWER girls: emergency response and resilience planning.” This empowerment means committing to assist these girls and their communities to combat all kinds of tragedies such as violent extremism, exploitation, sexual abuse and persecution for beliefs.
Women and girls worldwide make up more than 75 percent of the refugees and displaced persons at risk from war, famine, persecution and natural disaster. This statistic contributes to the goal of the United Nations Security Council, made 17 years ago in 2000. That goal is to increase the role of women in the groups that do the decision-making for conflict prevention and resolution.
It also furthers the action taken in 2011 by Irina Bokova, Director-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, called the Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education.
“There is no justification – be it cultural, economic or social – for denying girls and women an education,” Bokova said. “It is a basic right and an absolute condition for reaching all the internationally agreed development goals.”
How can those in the more developed first world assist in making this goal a reality? The first step is to not take the opportunities that are had by those here for granted. Next is to support the causes and individuals who are working to further promote the cause of education and fair work of women and girls around the world.
It is important to encourage society to push for and believe in equality in places of education and the workforce, not because it’s a trendy thing to do or because it’s a thing that you can get up on a soapbox about, but because education and working to support yourself and your family are basic human rights.
Carlee Jo Blumenthal