On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
For its first observance, this year’s Day focused on child marriage, which is a fundamental human rights violation and impacts all aspects of a girl’s life. Child marriage denies a girl of her childhood, disrupts her education, limits her opportunities, increases her risk to be a victim of violence and abuse, jeopardizes her health and therefore constitutes an obstacle to the achievement of nearly every Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and the development of healthy communities.
Girl Facts Around the World
- Globally, 77.6 million girls are currently not enrolled in either primary or secondary education (UNESCO)
- Of 163 million illiterate youth in the world, more than half – 63 percent – are female. (UNFPA)
- Around the world, 250 million adolescent girls live in poverty (Girl Effect)
- When international development funds are allocated, less than 2 cents of every dollar is directed specifically to girls. (The Coalition for Adolescent Girls)
- An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent (World Bank)
- Sixty-five low and middle income countries are losing approximately $92 billion a year by failing to educate girls to the same standards as boys. (Global Compact Summary)
- When a girl in the developing world receives 7 or more years of education, she marries 4 years later and has 2.2 fewer children. (UN Population Fund)
- A girl who completes basic education is three times less likely to contract HIV. (Make It Right)
- Children born to educated mothers are twice as likely to survive past the age of 5. (Make It Right)
- One in three girls who completes primary school in Africa and South Asia cannot read, write or do simple math. (Council on Foreign Relations)
International Day of the Girl Child aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
2018 theme: With Her: A Skilled GirlForce
Today’s generation of girls are preparing to enter a world of work that is being transformed by innovation and automation. Educated and skilled workers are in great demand, but roughly a quarter of young people – most of them female – are currently neither employed or in education or training.
Of the 1 billion young people – including 600 million adolescent girls – that will enter the workforce in the next decade, 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.
On 11 October, International Day of the Girl, we are working alongside all girls to expand existing learning opportunities, chart new pathways and calling on the global community to rethink how to prepare them for a successful transition into the world of work.
Under the theme, With Her: A Skilled GirlForce, International Day of the Girl 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.
Read more here to support and celebrate the Girl Child