Sticking to the purpose of the day, the first International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October 2012 was observed around the world with the theme “ending child marriage”. The second year saw the theme “Innovating for Girls’ Education”. This 11 October, it will be the third “International Day of the Girl Child”, and the theme for this year has been announced to be “Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the cycle of violence”. This year the day is focused on raising awareness about the importance of empowering adolescent girls and, preventing and eliminating every form of violence they are subject to.
Here are some facts and figures from UN to help you fathom the reality of violence, discrimination and inequality against girl child all over the world:
- Almost 60 million girls are sexually assaulted at, or on their way to school, annually.
- The same number of girls is estimated to go ‘missing’, mostly in Asia, as an outcome of infanticide, neglect or sex-selected abortions.
- Among 800,000 people trafficked annually, 80% are women and girls. The majority among them are trafficked for reasons of sexual exploitation.
- Up to 5% of women report being physically abused while pregnant.
- There are over 60 million child brides all over the world. The definition of married life for many of them is violence and abuse.
If the numbers penned above astounds you in anyway, choose to make a difference: Fight to eliminate inequality and discrimination between boys and girls, strive for girl education, raise voice against female infanticide, work to stop violence against girl child and do everything and anything in your power to ensure that girls are not ill treated in any form.
A day has been set, but do not treat it as any other day. Moreover, let us not forget about this subject during the remaining 364 days of the year. Don’t ridicule the purpose by sidelining it on other days. Let the goal be not only for 11 October but every day. Your voice counts, so let it be heard. All over the world, people gather together, men and women to organize events for awareness. Be a part of it and make a difference. And when it is not 11 October, keep fighting for girl children, their rights and security. It is a year-round responsibility that belongs to all of us. Let’s also keep in mind the HeForShe campaign that has been initiated by UN and call out all boys and men to join forces to support girl child and their rights. It is a movement that needs pushing from all of us to be indefinitely successful.