On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. This year’s (2013) Girl Child Day will focus on “Innovating for Girls’ Education.
Theme for 2012 was “Ending Child marriage”. For its first observance International Girl Child Day has focused on child marriage, which is a fundamental human rights violation and impacts all aspects of a girl’s life. Child marriage denies a girl of her childhood, disrupts her education, limits her opportunities, increases her risk to be a victim of violence and abuse, jeopardizes her health and therefore constitutes an obstacle to the achievement of nearly every Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and the development of healthy communities.
For its second observance, this year’s (2013) Girl Child Day will focus on “Innovating for Girls’ Education”. The fulfilment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is also overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.
Recognizing the need for fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward, the 2013 International Day of the Girl Child will address the importance of new technology, but also innovation in partnerships, policies, resource utilization, community mobilization, and most of all, the engagement of young people themselves.
All UN agencies, Member States, civil society organizations, and private sector actors have potential tools to innovate for and with girls to advance their education.
Examples of possible steps include:
• Improved public and private means of transportation for girls to get to school—from roads, buses, mopeds, bicycles to boats and canoes;
• Collaboration between school systems and the banking industry to facilitate secure and convenient pay delivery to female teachers and scholarship delivery to girls;
• Provision of science and technology courses targeted at girls in schools, universities and vocational education programmes;
• Corporate mentorship programmes to help girls acquire critical work and leadership skills and facilitate their transition from school to work;
• Breaking the barriers, it is a must to harness innovation and technology to reach poor and marginalized girls and improve the quality of education for all.