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Girl Child Day: A collection of thoughts about girls from around the world

  • United Nations General Assembly added a chapter in its history of development on December 19, 2011, as it declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child.

    The objective of this move is “to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.”

    The theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl Child, on 11 October, “Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement”, calls the world to address the challenges faced by the girl child and vigorously empower them to achieve 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    As the world celebrates International Day of the Girl Child today, here is a small collection of some thoughts about the girl child from different parts of the world.

    Read. Ponder. Take action.

    Investing in girls is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. It has a powerful ripple effect across all areas of development and reaches forward to future generations.

    But what cannot be measured cannot be managed. If we do not gather the data we need, we will never know if we are delivering on our promises. – BAN KI-MOON

    Education empowers us; all you have to do is to look at the number of women suffering because they never had an education. The lack of regard for the girl child as an equal to the boy child is disheartening. Girls in rural areas are made to develop the mentality that they can never be better than boys, which is wrong. — MS PERRY ARITUA, Executive Director, Women in Democracy Network

    If you want to negotiate with parents, who believe in giving their children out early for marriage, you must bring incentives, by ensuring that school fees are affordable or free, because it can deter parents from sending female children to school. By and large, it is the duty of the parents and the government to ensure that girls are educated because it will benefit everyone. — DR. ABIOLA AKIYODE-AFOLABI, Executive Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)

    The most common and worrisome issue of the girl child today is sexual abuse. The media is awash with scandalizing cases of sexual abuse in the homes, schools and hospitals. The girl child is exposed to constant abuse from those to them, like uncles, family friends, classmates, teachers and lecturers. Rape cases are already going out of hand. Some cultures, particularly in the Southeast, discriminate against the girl child from inheriting any landed property. She is always at the receiving end; there is hardly any tribe in Nigeria that the girl child is not discriminated against.— DR. AKHATOR ENEKA

    The girl child needs protection. She is susceptible to attack from many angles, in the home, school, church, among groups, anywhere at all; she is a target. She needs sound education. If she understands her rights and privileges, it will help her not to be a tool in the hand of people. She needs to understand life development skills and more opportunities will be made available here. She needs more scholarships to further her education and adequate medical care.— MRS. OBIOMA AGOZIEM, Executive Director CCHD

     We know that when we give these girls the chance to learn, they will seize it.— MICHELLE OBAMA

    Girls who are married as children tend to have less decision-making power within relationships and families, and face increased risks of domestic violence and higher rates of adolescent pregnancy.— ELIZABETH ROMANOFF SILVA

    Education is critical to providing girls with the tools they need to become healthier and more educated women who are better prepared and able to participate in the formal labour market and earn more income, which in turn lifts families and communities out of poverty in Asia and around the world.— ELIZABETH ROMANOFF SILVA

    To have women in public leadership positions is vital to the health and prosperity of a nation. Young women and girls should be able to aspire to leadership positions in every society, and they need practical support to reach their goals. – MS NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA, Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls

    For in the poorest regions of the world, women and girls are among the most disadvantaged people on earth and in many countries especially Third World ones, the girl child suffers from many human rights violations, and therefore the urgent need for our advocacy and protective mechanisms. Hence, at its core, this international day serves the purpose of galvanizing the global community to demand that the basic human rights of the girl child are met and enforced.— FATIN BUNDAGJI, President, TLC Consultancy

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