2013 International Day of the Girl
The United Nations General Assembly has chosen October 11th as the International Day of the Girl Child. This is a day to reflect on the gender inequalities that exist between boys and girls and an opportunity to support and promote the human rights of girls all over the world. It is also a time to highlight girls who advocate for their own rights. When the Canadian Museum for Human Rights opens in 2014, you’ll be able to learn about how girls are changing the world and promoting human rights.
This year’s theme is “Innovating for Girls’ Education.” Two inspiring girls working towards education equality are Malala Yosafzai and Alaina Podmorow.
On October 9, 2012 Taliban fighters attempted to kill Malala Yosafzai, a young girl from the Swat region of Pakistan, for promoting girls’ rights to education. Instead of stepping aside after being shot in the head and neck, she continues to speak out on the importance of girls’ education, education for all children and women’s rights.Malala Addresses Youth Assembly for Universal Primary Education (Photo Credit:UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)
On July 12, 2013, Malala gave an impassioned speech to the United Nations outlining her personal experience and emphasizing the importance of supporting girls’ education.
Alaina Podmorow, a grade 9 student in Kelowna, B.C., was inspired by the words of Canadian journalist and human rights activist Sally Armstrong when she heard her say in a speech that “the worst thing you can do is nothing.” At age 9, she created a non-profit organization called “Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan” that raises funds for education programs for girls. Alaina’s personal motto is “Education = Peace” and this inspires all of her human rights work. Her efforts show that one girl can make a difference in the world. To learn more about Alaina’s work, on littlewomenforlittlewomen.com.
If you want to celebrate International Day of the Girl, you can do so in a number of different ways. Status of Women Canada has put out a list of 15 ways you can be involved in celebrating girls in your community. These include learning more about issues girls face by reading a book or watching a documentary, film or television program with girls as the main focus or talking with men and boys about their role in advocating for the rights of girls.
You can also host a screening of Girl Rising in your community and facilitate a discussion on the kinds of unique circumstances that girls face in trying to obtain an education. The documentary follows 9 girls from around the world and explores their barriers to education. The film is based on a simple but critical message that if you educate girls, you will change the world.