October 11

International Day of the Girl
Reflection

Since 2012, October 11 has been marked as the International Day of the Girl. . The theme for 2020 is My Voice, Our Equal Future.

The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. Progress for adolescent girls has not kept pace with the realities they face today, and COVID-19 has reinforced many of these gaps. Inequality of girl children is a vast worldwide problem which includes many areas like inequality in education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, protection, honor, and child marriage among others. Adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years, but also as they mature into women. In the United States where we have made much progress in empowering girls, the patriarchal nature of society still fosters the perception that women are less competent than men and second to them. Fewer women in positions of power at all levels, pay inequality, and sexual abuse at the workplace all testify to the fact that  there is still a lot to be done to change ingrained beliefs and attitudes hiding beneath surface progress.
Adapted from UN bulletin

Prayer

May we recognize the value and dignity of every person.

Action 

Empower your own girl children and teach them they are not inferior. Do not treat boy children as superior. Teach boys and girls mutual respect and appreciation for one  another. Examine your own attitudes. Change where necessary.

Suggested Reading

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28

No matter where she lives, every girl on this planet deserves the chance to learn and grow, to develop her mind and her talents, and to live a life of her own choosing. Although we have made life significantly better for our daughters than it was for our mothers and grandmothers, in too many parts of the world, girls are still undervalued, disrespected, abused, and prevented from contributing to society.
Barack Obama

Removing the barriers that keep women and girls on the margins of economic, social, cultural, and political life must be a top priority for us all – businesses, governments, the United Nations, and civil society.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Girls are one of the most powerful forces for change in the world: When their rights are recognized, their needs are met, and their voices are heard, they drive positive change in their families, their communities, and the world.
Kathy Calvin, United Nations Foundation President & CEO

We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back. We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave – to embrace the strength within themselves and realize their full potential.
Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize winner

Next time you are about to call a little girl”bossy” say instead “She has executive leadership skills”.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO and Member of the Board, Facebook

There is no longer a doubt that women are just as competent as men. Gender differences are guided by nurture, as society treats boys and girls differently from an early age.
Naveen Jain, Founder of InfoSpace

Business as usual with women left out of the decisions which affect them, and with their particular needs and circumstances overlooked in the outcomes, must not continue.
Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

 I call upon women to raise each other up, to make each other’s welfare a priority, and to never shame a woman for the choices she makes.
Frieda Pinto, actress and women’s rights activist

There are more than 500 million adolescent girls living in the developing world today. Every one of them can potentially help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, with ripple effects multiplying across her society.
Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

We know now that without gender equality and a full role for women in society, in the economy, in governance, we will not be able to achieve the world we hoped for.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women

 

Did you know?

  • Worldwide, nearly 1 in 4 girls aged 15–19 years is neither employed nor in education or training compared to 1 in 10 boys of the same age. By 2021 around 435 million women and girls will be living on less than $1.90 a day — including 47 million pushed into poverty as a result of COVID-19.
  • 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence. Emerging data shows that since the outbreak of COVID-19, violence against women and girls (VAWG), and particularly domestic violence, has INTENSIFIED.
  • At least 60% of countries still discriminate against daughters’ rights to inherit land and non-land assets in either law or practice.
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