October 11th is the fourth annual International Day of the Girl. This movement was established by the UN to generate awareness, stand up for girls and speak out against gender bias, everywhere. This day recognizes girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face.
This year’s theme focuses on adolescent girls and the Sustainable Development Goals, which set a range of international targets, including on gender equality, to be achieved by 2030.
A lot of work has been done for girls particularly in education. More girls than ever attend school. But keeping them in school throughout their teenage years is very important to overcoming social, economic, and political barriers.
According to the UN:
- Worldwide, more than 700 million women were married as children (below 18 years of age). More than one in three—or some 250 million—were married before 15. And child brides are often unable to effectively negotiate safe sex, leaving them vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy.
- Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, anadolescent girl dies as a result of violence.
In emergencies, adolescent girls are especially vulnerable to sexual violence, and in some cases, are abducted and exploited for sexual purposes by armed groups.
- Nearly half (44 per cent) of adolescent girls worldwide aged 15 to 19 think a husband or partner is justified in hitting or beating his wife or partner under certain circumstances.
(UN Women, October 2015, http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/girl-child#sthash.ljqMVGB0.dpuf)