Day of the Girl
It is no coincidence that Plan’s Because I am a Girl campaign launched globally on the first ever International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October 2012.
Plan was the first major organisation to call for an international day of recognition for girls and achieving it was one of the earliest goals of the campaign.
Plan led the global effort to build a coalition of support behind the Day of the Girl, securing critical support from the Canadian government which took our call all the way to the United Nations. In December 2011, the UN General assembly voted to establish the Day of the Girl. This was before our campaign had even launched!
Why a day for girls?
Firstly, we listened to girls themselves, who truly believed that an international day could be a launch pad for global action on girls’ rights:
"The Day of the Girl would definitely spark discussions throughout the world about girls' rights, how girls are impacted by policies, the challenges that girls face… I would use the Day of the Girl as another way in which I can bring up the issue of girls rights with my peers, in my community and to my leaders." Rachel, 17, from Canada.
Girls themselves were crucial in the global movement to establish the Day of the Girl, and through their stories, ideas and views we came to believe that a day for girls would:
- bring global focus to the widespread denial of basic rights to girls, and the ‘invisibility’ of girls in the global development agenda; while there has long been an International Women's Day and an International Day of the Child, neither of these days recognise the unique challenges for girls as the most marginalised and discriminated group.
- help to make girls and their rights more visible. Girls can bring about social change that benefits not only themselves, but their families, communities and entire societies as well. Ensuring girls feel respected and valued in society is the first step to breaking down discriminatory barriers.
- help to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Gender equality must begin with girls. It is fundamental to reducing poverty and to prevent suffering in developing economies and to create a just world.
- enable girls to gain an equal position in society; this is not only the right of girls and a moral duty, but essential to breaking poverty.
1 in every 3 girls in the developing world is married by the age of 18.