International Day of the Girl Child – 11th October

International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations; it is also called the Day of the Girl and the International Day of the Girl. October 11, 2012, was the first Day of the Girl. The observation supports more opportunity for girls and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender.

A young girl sits in the shade, while her sister sleeps behind her, at an IDP camp in Baidoa for victims of a drought currently affecting Somalia. UN Photo/Tobin Jones

EmPOWER Girls: Before, during and after crises

The world’s 1.1 billion girls are a source of power, energy, and creativity – and the millions of girls in emergencies are no exception. This year’s International Day of the Girl (IDG) on October 11 marks the beginning of a year-long effort to spur global attention and action to the challenges and opportunities girls face before, during, and after crises.

Message from Ms Irina Bokova,
Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child

This International Day of the Girl Child comes at turbulent times, with the world facing the rising challenges of forced displacement, climate change and violent extremism. Whether caused by armed conflict or natural disaster, humanitarian crises always hurt women and girls the most – they account for more than 75 percent of the refugees and displaced persons at risk from war, famine, persecution and natural disaster. They are also vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation, during conflicts and in refugee camps.

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.

This is the goal of landmark United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, to increase women’s role in decision-making for conflict prevention and resolution.

Seventeen years later, 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 – this must start 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 and adolescents. In 2011, I launched UNESCO’s Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education, “Better Life, Better Future”, to educate adolescent girls as a catalyst to break cycles of poverty and foster greater social justice. Across the world, the Partnership has provided adolescent girls with knowledge, values and skills, creating positive benefits for families and communities, today and tomorrow.

No society will flourish and no peace agreement will be lasting without empowering girls in peacebuilding and reconstruction. It is time to put this imperative at the heart of all of our efforts in addressing fragility, conflict and violence. This is UNESCO’s message today.


Find out More

Find out more from the UN website.