The first ever “International Day of the Girl Child” will take place on Oct. 11, after it was declared United Nations General Assembly following a two year campaign that was spearheaded by Plan International.
This day seeks to highlight the unique challenge faced by young girls, as they constitute an internationally marginalized group.
Plan sought the help of the Canadian government to institutionalize the day of the girl child, a term referring to girls under 18, believing it was crucial to bring international focus to the widespread denial of their basic rights.
The International Day of the Girl Child aims to raise awareness of gender stereotypes, violence, and economic disparities that disproportionately affect this international demographic.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Egypt will use the day to highlight the dangers of child marriage, a practice which negatively affects the lives of millions of girls per year as they are married often much older men.
Their stated aim is to end child marriage and to shift cultural attitudes to protect girls’ rights.
Egypt’s UNFPA claims that young girls who are forced into such marriages have few social connections and very restricted mobility and this opens them up to domestic violence and jeopardizes their right to an education.
The International day of the girl child seeks to address the “invisibility” of girls in the global development agenda, According to Plan. The campaign says poverty disproportionately affects this demographic, an issue that can only be righted by promoting gender equality and ensuring that young girls are respected and valued in society.