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October 11 – International Day of the Girl Child

11-10-2017 11:00 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream

October 11 – International Day of the Girl Child | My Indian Dream

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Every girl needs to be empowered

The ‘ International Day of the Girl Child’ is observed every year on October 11. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.

There is no denying the fact that discrimination and violence against girls and violations of their human rights are still prevalent in the society. In order to raise awareness of challenges that millions of girls face every day, the United Nations declared that it would annually observe the International Day of the Girl Child, starting from October 11, 2012.

On this day, various events are held to showcase the work that people are doing to empower girls through active support and engagement with parents, families, and the wider community.

India has seen a big positive change towards the girl child in the last decade. The government has implemented laws and policies protecting the rights of girls and women, including a ban on dowry, pre-birth sex determination and child marriage. Teenage pregnancy has halved in the last ten years and more girls are going to school than ever before.

Cases of violence against women are dealt with stricter laws. One cannot forget the months after December 2012, when the nation witnessed the largest protest on violence against women leading to the amendment of Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code within three months. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his first Independence Day speech had stressed that the development of a country lay in supporting its girls.

The ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ yojna tackles pre-birth sex determination. Many other schemes have been introduced to protect and empower girls. An educated, independent woman has a positive impact not only on her family but also in the advancement of the nation.

The theme of this International Day -- “EmPOWER girls: emergency response and resilience planning” -- resonates with UNESCO’s commitment to promote the protection of girls from conflict and violence and to strengthen their resilience while ensuring their full participation in mediation and negotiation processes.

Empowering girls and women is essential to the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda promises to leave no one behind and starts with girls whose needs are greatest. Working with Member States and partners, UNESCO is leading forward the Education 2030 Framework for Action, to nurture education as a force to transform socially, economically and politically the lives of girls.

The global community is all set to launch the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for implementation over the next 15 years. The International Day of the Girl Child also calls for celebrating and recognizing the achievements made in supporting and empowering young girls.

Girls should be provided a safe environment and good education during their adolescence so that they can mature into confident and healthy individuals contributing to the betterment of the world. If effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world – both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, and political leaders. Upholding the rights of girls promises an equitable and prosperous future where half of humanity is an equal partner in solving problems of climate change, political conflict, economic growth and global sustainability.

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