Today is International Day of the Girl Child, a day that hopes to promote the empowerment of girls all over the world – promoting their human rights, and demanding all girls have a right to a safe and healthy life with good education.
There are 1.1 billion girls in the world, according to UN Women. They are our future and can be significant drivers of change and progress internationally. But many face discrimination, and even violence regularly.
The International Day of the Girl Child was started in 2011, when the UN General Assembly declared October 11 as the day in which to recognise the unique challenges girls face around the world. This year, the focus is on empowering girls “before, during and after conflict”. Girls living in conflict areas experience considerably more violence and discrimination than those who don’t, and are 90% more likely to be out of school.
And around the world, around 116 million women in developing countries have still not completed primary school, according to UNESCO, while two thirds of the worldwide illiterate population are female.
While progress has been made for girls all over the world in recent years, particularly regarding educational attainment, it’s important to note some of the stats and data that reveal the disadvantage and risks girls still face all over the world.
The below stats come from Unicef’s A Statistical Snapshot of Violence Against Adolescent Girls
- Around 10% of the deaths of adolescent girls all over the world are a result of violence
- An adolescent girl dies every 10 minutes, due to an act of violence.
- Parents and intimate partners are the most commonly cited perpetrators of physical violence against adolescent girls in almost all countries
- One in three girls between the ages of 13 and 15 internationally experience bullying on a regular basis.
- Around 120 million girls worldwide (more than one in 10) have experienced forced sexual acts at some point in their lives
- Almost half of girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide believe a husband or partner is sometimes justified in hitting or beating his wife or partner under certain circumstances
- Around 130 million women and girls alive today have experienced genital mutilation
- More than 700 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday, more than one third before the age of 15.
Pic Above: From UN Women, featuring girls in Brazil.
At Women’s Agenda, we’re with UN Women, which has issued the below statement today.
“Let us commit to investing in skills training and education for girls and livelihood activities for young women around the world who are facing crises. Far from being passive recipients of assistance, these girls are leaders who will use the skills that they develop today to rebuild their communities, and create a better future for all of us.
Educate a girl and you not only change her life and the lives of those around her, you change the world.