12 October 2011: Nobel prize winner Leymah Gbowee has spoken out in support of Plan’s call for the UN to declare 22 September the International Day of the Girl.
Leymah, a passionate supporter of Plan's Because I am a Girl campaign, is one of 3 women who were awarded this year’s Peace Prize for their campaigning work on "non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights".
“I think the International Day of the Girl child would be a great day for the issues of the girl child to be brought to light for media institutions, for government institutions, and for educational institutions to take the time to think: Girls are the future of the world and we definitely need a day dedicated to their issues,” she said.
There’s nothing you cannot do
Leymah, aged 39, was instrumental in helping bring Liberia to peace in the early 2000s, leading a movement of women to protest against the use of rape and child soldiers in the war. Using the opportunity of the award to address girls and young women, she hoped the prize would help remind young women that "there's nothing in this world that you determine to do that you cannot do."
Girls globally face systemic abuse and a ‘double’ discrimination because of their age and sex. According to Leymah, an International Day of the Girl would help to go a long way to highlighting this ongoing injustice, and create a foundation to ensure that girls get the investment and recognition they deserve.