9 December 2011: The United Nations is close to designating 11 October as the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’, following a campaign by Plan.
The call was first raised by girls themselves at a UN gender summit in 2009 as a crucial recognition of their rights. Since then girls have lobbied for this day, with the support and guidance of Plan.
Governments across the world have backed the campaign. The Canadian government is leading the resolution at the UN and over 100 member nations have already pledged their support.
The resolution was adopted by consensus at the Third Committee of the General Assembly and will now go to the full Assembly for adoption in the week of 19 December.
Girls left behind
"The Day of the Girl puts a special focus on the needs of girls throughout the world. We know that in many countries girls get left behind in all areas of life from school to work and in the worst cases aren’t even allowed to be born,” said Plan Chief Executive Officer Nigel Chapman.
Leymah Gbowee, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner, has been a long standing supporter of an international day dedicated to girls. She said it would help bring to light the issues of girls before governments, media and educational institutions.
“Girls are the future of the world and we definitely need a day dedicated to their issues,” she said.
Research has shown that simply being born a girl can leave a child at a huge disadvantage in life. In the poorest societies, a girl faces greater risk of malnutrition, hunger and disease compared to her brothers. She will have fewer opportunities for an education and career.
In many developing countries 1 out of 7 girls marries before age 15, resulting in them having to drop out of school before they have a chance to receive the education they deserve.
The call for a Day of the Girl is part of Plan’s global Because I am a Girl campaign to fight gender inequality and promote girls’ rights.