Celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child

A girl child can be all she wants to be

October 11th is recognised annually as the International Day of the Girl. As the United Nations and other organisations work to reduce the gap between the male and female gender, the African Youth Corner is also making efforts to ensure that girls have access to their rights and other basic social amenities.

What rights are girls deprived of?

Girls are particularly vulnerable and so need more protection. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989, sets forth the basic human rights of children, usually those under 18 years of age. These rights include nondiscrimination; the right to survival and development of potential; protection from harmful influences, abuses and exploitation; and full participation in family, cultural and social life. The convention also spells out some human rights violations that are unique to the girl child, including discrimination based upon sex, prenatal sex selection, female genital mutilation and early marriage.

Certain cultures and societies promote the subjugation of women and girls. They are not seen as equal to their male counterpart and as such they lawfully suffer victimization.

According to part of the book Women in the World Today, published by the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs, “Discrimination and harmful practices against the girl child vary depending upon cultural context. For instance, intentional abortion of female fetuses and female infanticide are common practices in East and South Asian countries where sons are strongly preferred. India and China have a significant sex-ratio imbalance in their populations as a result of these practices, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA, 2005). In India such practices are reinforced by the perception that daughters are an economic burden on the family. They do not significantly contribute to the family income and large dowries may be expected by in-laws when the girl marries. In China, sex selectivity and abandonment of infant girls have increased dramatically since the enactment of the one-child policy in 1989. Prenatal sex selection is more common where modern medical technology is readily accessible and open to misuse. According to the UNFPA 2004 report, sex-selective abortion and female infanticide have resulted in at least 60 million “missing” girls in Asia. The shortage of females in some Asian countries has led to other problems, such as increased trafficking in women for marriage and sex work.”

Cross section of girls in a class during Project ROSS

As we mark another International Day of the Girl Child, we wish to call on all stakeholders, civil society groups, NGOs, government of Nations, and the entire population to join in the advocacy to give the girl child her complete right. Let us make the world safe for girls. Let girls have access to quality education. Let female genital mutilation and rape end. Let girls take up initiatives and have the support of society.

A girl can be all she wants to be!

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Celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child


The celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child is held on the 11th of October annually. The date was declared by the United Nations in 2011 and the mission is “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”

All over the world, Girls face discrimination and violence every day. The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.


It is important to pay serious attention to the girl child because they are key factors in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. They hold the future of the world within them. When girls do better, we all do better.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision 2030.” The potential of the adolescent girls is threatened by unwanted pregnancy, forced early marriage,
gender-based violence and limited access to
higher education and reproductive health services.


In his statement to mark this year’s international day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon notes: “Our task now is to get to work on meeting the SDG targets and making good on our promises to give girls all the opportunities they deserve as they mature to adulthood by 2030.”

It is the responsibility of every one, as Global citizens to ensure that the girl child realize their potential. Stop the discrimination and violence against them, protect them and give them quality education.