International Day of the Girl: Summit for Girls

Every year at the UN, the International Day of the Girl is celebrated on October 12th.  It is preceded with 11 days of action from October 2 to October 11th.  It is a campaign of transformative action, to shine a light on ideas, solutions and unity in support of girl’s rights.

This year’s focus is equity for girls and being BOLD.

Different organizations sponsor a day on twitter to feature various works that girls are engaged in and how they are making a difference.  On the first day of the campaign focused on keeping girls safe and the power of education equity because education informs, empowers and liberates!  

The  Loretto Community, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the Company of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, the Dominican Leadership Conference and the Society of the Sacred Heart kicked off the 11 days of Action. 

October 2nd was also International Day of Nonviolence. We focused on what it takes to keep girls safe and get girls quality education in the time of COVID-19.

Did you know that disruptions from COVID-19 are projected to end or seriously delay the education of 20 million secondary-school-age girls, according to the Malala Fund? Also, up to 50 percent of sexual assaults (worldwide) are committed against girls under 16?  Together we can help girls recognize and advocate for their rights. (For example, rights within relationships, rights to education, rights to freedom from violence, etc.)  

Some additional topics being explored during  the 11 days of action include:

  • Violence is gender based and systemic.
  • Girls suffer many injustices such as having to drop out of school, being forced into early marriages and becoming pregnant whilst still a child – this is increasing under COVID-19.
  • 80% of the 2.5 million people trafficked annually are women and girls. They are trafficked into prostitution, forced labor, slavery and servitude. Indigenous girls are disproportionately affected under COVID-19. 
  • In countries affected by conflict, girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys and are more likely to become victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
  • Violence against girls affects their education. Do these girls still have access to quality education? Why or why not? 

Why is it important to #KeepGirlsInSchool in 2020?

  • Without an education, a girl has limited options, can be kept in a cycle of poverty and will struggle to earn an income.
  • An educated girl will marry later and have a smaller, healthier family when she’s ready. #EndForcedMarriage #11DaysofAction #IDG2020 #KeepGirlsInSchool
  • We need educated girls to take future leadership in social, political, economic spheres to achieve gender balance, to help bring new perspectives and create new structures.
  • Girls from families with educated mothers are more likely to be educated themselves, yet for every 100 boys of primary age out of school, 121 girls are denied the right to education.

In a post-COVID world, what does equity for girls look like? What is the best vision for an equal and equitable world?

  • Improved education globally helps girls achieve economic parity and counter gender-based violence by teaching all children about #GenderEquality .
  • ‘Improved education globally challenges negative social norms that drive gender-based violence’ – @planinternational 
  • Economic status of girls improves as educated women value their daughters.
  • Women invest over 90% of their earnings back into their communities compared to only 40% of men. 

What are innovative educational efforts emerging at this critical time? How can Girls #BeBold?  Follow:

The global network, the Day of the Girl Summit, honors the historic declaration by the United Nations, by recognizing the significance of the day and all of our work around the world, in:

  • Celebration: recognizing the successful adoption of UN Resolution 66/170 and celebration of girlhood worldwide.
  • Solidarity: giving passion and energy to grassroots activism on behalf of girls’ rights.
  • Action: mobilizing girl peers and communities to join the movement for girls’ rights.
  • Support: building a strong, committed collective dedicated to achieving gender equality.

The 2020 Girls Speak Out was held on October 11th via YouTube; the theme will center building equity for girls.