International Day of the Girl Child – 11 October 2014

Having just returned from Zambia, it is frightening to find the pressures on girls just to fulfil their right to education ,let alone a quality education or even a life without being abused or discriminated against before they are 18. Work with the boys too, of course, but an improvement in the life of many girls will bring benefits for all.

Empowerment of and investment in girls are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights”

-United Nations Resolution 66/170

International Day of the Girl Child – 11 October

“Girls face discrimination and violence every day across the world. The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.” 

This year, the theme is “Empowering adolescent girls: Ending the cycle of violence”. – See more at:

Just two years ago, the UN declared October 11th as the International Day of the Girl Child to raise awareness about all issues concerning gender inequality around the world.  It’s a day when activist groups come together under the same goal to highlight, discuss, and take action to advance rights and opportunities for girls everywhere.The fulfillment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is also overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves.

For more information on UNICEF’s initiatives and activities for the Day, click here.


“There is … overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.”


Though life for the girl child is steadily improving, many are still subjected to horrific practices, such as female genital mutilation, son preference – often resulting in female infanticide – as well as child marriage, sexual exploitation and abuse. Girls are also more likely to experience discrimination in food allocation and healthcare, and are often outpaced and outranked by boys in all spheres of life. The Girl Child was also one of the 12 critical areas of concern raised in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Actionin 1995, concluding in nine strategic objectives framed as a means of holding governments accountable for girl’s rights. – See more at:


Some data and info

Key messages

  • 31 million girls around the world are denied their right to education and school girls are attacked just for trying to go to school
  • Education works. Educated girls are healthier, live longer, earn more, and are more likely to escape poverty and exploitation
  • Education increases opportunities and choices for families – helping eliminate child marriage and other forms of exploitation. No girl should be denied and education

Facts about girls and education

  • 31 million girls are out of school.Girls Rise #UpForSchool
  • Every year a girl stays in school increases her earning potential by 10-20%.
  • Ghana has made great progress towards the Millennium Development Goal target to get every child in school by 2015. The rate of primary school enrolment grew by more than 20% between 2004 and 2013, bringing more than 270,000 girls into
  • education.
  • Almost a quarter of young women aged 15-24 today (116 million) in developing countries have never completed primary school.
  • 2.1 million lives of children under 5 were saved between 1990 and 2009 because of improvements in the education of women of reproductive age.
  • Evidence shows that investments in education clearly contribute to better health outcomes. A child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five than a child born to an illiterate mother. Education mothers are better informed about specific preventable diseases and illnesses such as diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria, leading killers of children



Infographic courtesy of UNICEF, Every Woman Every Child and UN Global Education First Initiative. – See more at:

From 2013 (UNICEF):



and child marriage?

In Tanzania you can find parents who threaten teachers so as to get their daughters to fail the end of primary leaving exam so that they do not go on to secondary education and get married early. Any choice for them? Apart from cultural issues, helping to get the parents out of poverty may help allow some girls more choice in their futures.


From INEE:

Some things you can do on International Day of the Girl
  1. Sign and Share the #UpForSchool petition at
  2. Share a new report by Plan International highlighting The State of the World’s Girls 2014
  3. Act now and donate to the first Child Marriage Free Zone in Pakistan #EndChildMarriage
  4. Share the film: Rise #UpForSchool Now

Global Events:
A list of global events celebrating the IDGC can be found here.

Other resources and articles:

And for further inspiration:

Congratulations to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their struggles for the rights of children and young people, including the right of all children to education!


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