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Today Is International Day Of The Girl – Here's What That Means

Since 2012, October 11 has been officially recognised as the International Day of the Girl – a designated day to take stock of the value of girls in our everyday lives and consider ways in which we can all come together to better support them.

According to the United Nations, "the day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights."

This year, the UN's theme for the day is "GirlForce: Unscripted and unstoppable,” in which they officially plan to celebrate the achievements of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which is a comprehensive policy agenda for the empowerment of women drafted by delegates from over 200 countries 25 years ago.

In the years following, women pressed this agenda forward, leading global movements on issues ranging from sexual and reproductive health rights to equal pay.

More girls today are attending and completing school, fewer are getting married or becoming mothers while still children and more are gaining the skills they need to excel in the future world of work.

Today, these movements have expanded. They are being organized by and for adolescent girls, and tackling issues like child marriage, education inequality, gender-based violence, climate change, self-esteem, and girls’ rights to enter places of worship or public spaces during menstruation. 

"We need to uphold the equal rights, voices and influence of girls in our families, communities and nations," says UN Secretary-General António Guterres. "Girls can be powerful agents of change, and nothing should keep them from participating fully in all areas of life."

Girls are breaking boundaries and barriers posed by stereotypes and exclusion, including those directed at children with disabilities and those living in marginalized communities.

As entrepreneurs, innovators and initiators of global movements, girls are creating a world that is relevant for them and future generations.

The UN is now asking those of us with social media accounts to share the news of today by using the hashtags: #dayofthegirl #GenerationEquality (English); #díadelaniña #GeneraciónIgualdad (Spanish); #journéedelafille #GénérationÉgalité (French).

In Ireland, for those of us who would like to make a difference, please consider donating to Childline here, Plan International here or Trócaire here.  

Main image by @malala

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