Since its inception in 2012, International Day of the Girl Child has quickly gained importance and attention. Celebrated on 11th October, the day was introduced in order to raise awareness and fight gender inequality. Although the initiative originally came from a non-government organization – Plan International, the United Nations was urged to take up the issue and address it on a more global stage.
Issues that Day of the Girl Child aims to eradicate
Millions of young girls around the world are subjected to various injustices and issues that affect their overall development and progress. This day was created to address these problems on a global scale and eradicate them.
Child marriage – This is perhaps one of the most prevalent and serious issues that the girl child faces today. Global statistics say that one out of four girls is married before the age of 18. Other issues such as sexual violence and lack of education stem from child marriage, eventually affecting overall quality of life. Governments, the world over, are being urged to take steps and introduce reforms that will do away with child marriage.
Right to education – Another major problem is the right to education. Unfortunately, due to practices like child marriage, the girl child is deprived of an education. Even today, there are many who think that a woman’s rightful place is in the home or kitchen and this belief makes education for the girl child appear unimportant. In fact, statistics shows that girls aged between 5 and 14 years spend 160 million hours more on household chores than boys in that same age group.
Image Credits – http://bit.ly/2ed1KBq
Violence against women – Also known as gender-based violence; the term is used for collective violent acts carried out exclusively against women, simply because they are women. The UN explained it as the “manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women” and one that forces women into a subordinate position to men.
There are various other areas like nutrition, protection from discrimination, legal rights, and medical care, where the girl child faces issues.
Combating these gender-based injustices
Despite the overwhelming problems, there are many governments and independent organizations that fight these issues through various events. The UN too sponsors different events to bring these problems to light.
Each year the International Day of the Girl Child has a special theme and this year’s theme was Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls. The idea for the theme was to highlight not only how progress would be good for girls, but for families, communities and the world as a whole.
Empowering the girl child is not just a fulfillment of human rights, but can ensure a better standard of living for everyone, the world over.
As Saumitra Prasad, Kokuyo Camlin’s Chief Marketing Officer, rightly says, “The day we can make learning fun for all the girls in our country, Kokuyo Camlin will feel we achieved our vision.”