International Day of the Girl Child has been celebrated on October 11th since 2012. This annual event celebrates a worldwide revolution that aims for girls to be seen as equal. It can in fact be called a day to generate awareness about gender equality in every nook and corner of the world. The activities on this day focus on highlighting the rights of the girl child. This international movement aims to create opportunity for the overall growth of girls. The various activities and discussions on this day aim at increasing awareness about the gender equality faced by girls all over the world.
Girls, particularly in the developing and under developed countries have to forego fundamental rights like nutrition and education. They also are unable to exercise legal rights or access basic medical care. In many instances, the society at large discriminates against girls which often results in violence against women, including rape, sexual assault and molestation. Child marriages are also seen to arise from gender discrimination, particularly in uneducated and rural sectors. Under such excruciating circumstances, the importance of the day needs to be emphasized for the betterment of the girl child.
The origin of the day can be traced to a project undertaken by Plan International, an NGO that is closely associated with girls and women. This NGO with a worldwide presence initiated a campaign called “Because I am a Girl”. This campaign was successful in raising awareness about the importance of nurturing girls. The global initiative, under Plan International approached the Canadian government for its support. The Canadian Government in turn, proposed a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly. To cut a long story short, the resolution paved the way for the declaration of October 11th as International Day of the Girl Child.
Activities that celebrate this event are not restricted to advertisement campaigns or discussions and seminars. Nor are the celebrations restricted to a single day of the year. Plans on how to celebrate the day are constantly being formulated and revised. Activist groups the world over come together towards a common goal. Discussions on how to celebrate the day are put into actions that help create and exploit opportunities for girls everywhere. Most of the activities are sponsored by local governments, charitable institutions and voluntary organizations like the rotary club, lions club and the Inner wheel club.
Activities include cultural events like concerts; sporting events like friendly matches, marathons and half-marathons and educational events like seminars and symposiums. All activities focus on the central theme for that year. Previous themes include Ending child Marriage, innovating for girls’ education and empowering adolescent girls. Regardless of the methods adopted to generate awareness about the importance of the day, all organizations and individuals involved in the various activities aim at achieving the empowerment of girls and eliminating the violence that they are subject to.