11 October: International Day of the Girl Child
The International Day of the Girl Child was observed across the world on October 11, 2018. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges faced by girl children while promoting their empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
The 2018 theme of the International day is ‘With Her: A Skilled GirlForce’.
Under the theme, the International Day will mark the beginning of a year-long effort to bring together partners and stakeholders to advocate for and draw attention and investments to the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls to attain skills for employability.
Why do we need the Day?
In the next decade, around 600 million adolescent girls are estimated to enter a world of work transformed by innovation and automation.
Among them, more than 90% of those living in developing countries will work in the informal sector, where low or no pay, abuse and exploitation are common. They will be faced with multiple barriers including systematic discrimination, biases and lack of training.
According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the negative gender stereotypes related to girls’ education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics begin as early as primary school and have a devastating effect of making them doubt their own potential.
Though the number of girls attending school is the highest ever, many still not get the necessary skills for lifelong success.
The biggest challenges faced by girls include obtaining quality secondary and higher education, avoiding child marriage, receiving information and services related to puberty and reproductive health, and protecting themselves against unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease and gender-based violence.
Hence, the girls need to be equipped with transferable and lifelong skills such as critical thinking, creativity and digital awareness.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on December 19, 2011 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
The day was established with the aim of ensuring that adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life, not only during their critical formative years but also as they mature into women.
Over the last 15 years, however, the global community has made significant progress in improving the lives of girls during early childhood.
The United Nations recently launched Youth2030 to help empower young people. It is a strategy that aims to work with the youth especially young girls and understand their needs and help put their ideas into action.
In India, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said that in the four years since its inception, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao has progressed tremendously by bringing about a change in people's mindset. The Minister reaffirmed the government's commitment to providing every girl child with an environment that will enable the girl child to reach her full potential.
Video: Check out the latest current affairs of this week