Western Commemorates International Day of the Girl 2021
October 11 is the International Day of the Girl Child. Former member of Parliament Rona Ambrose led the movement to establish this day and the United Nations (UN) formally adopted it on December 19, 2011. International Day of the Girl Child is a way to highlight the rights and needs of girls and advocate for investment and action to help girls reach their full potential, according to Worldvision.ca, “Girl’s rights are human rights.”
The Generation Equality Forum
As the COVID-19 pandemic reached its second year, the Generation Equality Forum, organized by the UN Women can, co-chaired by Mexico and France, took place in Paris from June 30 to July 2, 2021. It led to five-year program and policy commitments to gender inequality solutions and generated $40 billion in financial commitments. Twenty-six years ago, the UN adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a global movement for advancing girls’ and women’s rights. The Generation Equality Forum found that “…too little has changed” and “At current rates of progress, more than 2.1 billion women and girls will live in countries that will not reach any key gender equality targets by 2030.
COVID-19 and International Day of the Girl
COVID-19 has impacted girls and women disproportionately. They make up the most essential and frontline health workers and have experienced increases in unpaid work, poverty, and violence. World Vision found that, “Despite global achievements towards gender equality…the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to turn back much of the progress that’s been made.”
The pandemic has also led to the increased use of digital platforms for connecting, learning, and earning but according to UNICEF, girls are less likely to be connected. The global gender gap in internet access increased from 11% in 2013 to 17% in 2019 and in the least developed countries, it is around 43%. Girls are less likely to own devices and have access to tech-related jobs and skills.
Due to the pandemic, both boys and girls are predicted to experience an increase in physical, emotional, and sexual violence. Girls are especially at risk and it is predicted that the pandemic will contribute to a surge in child marriage and associated health issues such as the high mortality rates for mothers below the age of 19 and their children.
How can you take action in Canada on this International Day of the Girl?
Visit the Plan Canada website at https://plancanada.ca/page.aspx?pid=2357 to find ways to support girls’ rights this International Day of the Girl.
- Start a fundraiser
- Join Plan International on Twitter and Facebook
- Spread awareness about girls’ rights
- Help by donating to programs that advocate for girls’ rights
In the words of Malala Yousafzai, one of the most influential activists for girls’ access to education, “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.” We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave – to embrace the strength within themselves and realize their full potential.”