On October 11, “2013 International Day of the Girl Summit” was held at the UN headquarters in New York in commemoration of “International Day of the Girl,” and “the Girl Declaration” was launched. The Declaration, which was written by 508 girls and 25 organizations, calls on the Post-2015 Agenda to “include investments for girls living in poverty around the world.
“Girls were left out of the original Millennium Development Goals. The Girl Declaration has been written to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” stated the Declaration, which describes goals for 5 main areas including health, education, safety, economic security, and citizenship. The detailed goals include ensuring all girls complete free secondary school, reducing the number of girls who become pregnant before age 18 by 50% by 2030, eliminating all forms of violence against girls, increasing girls’ access to financial services by 50% by 2030, and eliminating child marriage globally by 2030. Pakistani girl activist Malala Yousafzai, Ireland’s former President Mary Robinson, and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu all signed the Declaration.
In December 20121, United Nations General Assembly declared “International Day of the Girl” to recognize the rights of girls who face dual discrimination on account of their age and gender, and to promote the challenges they face. This year’s theme focused on “Innovating for Girls’ Education” for those girls who are not aware of their rights.
According to UNICEF, currently about 31 million primary school aged girls are out of school. “Education can transform the lives of girls and strengthen their communities,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “Innovation can help us reach every girl by transforming education.” In Bangladesh, “floating schools” were created using solar power, so that students in flood-prone areas can attend classes. In South Africa, thanks to support from the government and 100 companies, 1,000 girls have been connected to tech experts in a mentoring system to receive job training in pipe engineering, etc.
The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon congratulated the “International Day of the Girl,” saying “We need fresh solutions to girls’ education challenges. Promoting their rights and addressing discrimination and violence faced by girls is vital in achieving a common future.”