As October makes its annual return, so do its festivities that fall within that month, most notably Halloween. But as October 31st has become a celebration for the dead, October 11th holds its own for the living- a day that celebrates girls.
International Day of the Girl Child, is described by the United Nations as a day to “recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.” Worldwide, girls across all nations experience girlhood with its varying struggles- limited access to education, human trafficking, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation among other chains of misogyny held by a patriarchal society.
Each year, the celebration is centered around a specific theme. In 2021, the UN and Gender Equality Forum commemorated the day with the theme of “Digital Generation”, which highlighted giving girls access to digital devices and the internet. UNICEF reports that there is a 17 percent gender gap internationally among internet users. By providing girls with digital resources, they can learn how to align themselves with the growing rapport of modern industries and thrive in a technology-based world.
This year, the day (and its 10th year anniversary) will be honored by the theme “Our time is now- our rights, our future,” as an ode to the rising attention surrounding girl's issues during such a dark period of our time. Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the reproductive rights of girls have been endangered and called to center stage by citizens and policymakers, as we simultaneously battle a pandemic, climate change, and economic recession. To combat this, UNICEF proposes that we provide resources for girls for their physical and mental wellbeing, strengthen crisis and recovery services, and let girls take charge by leading their own spaces and amplifying their voices.
Girlhood has become an experience so universally shared yet so misunderstood. Despite its tribulations, it also holds powerful truths about the joys of being a girl.
If you wish to become involved in celebrating the Day of the Girl Child, you can share and amplify the stories being told by young women around the world. Even though October 11th is a day of reflecting on the progress being made in our journey of empowerment, it is not the destination. The fight for liberation is a never-ending conquest, and in the hopes of one day winning, we must remember our girls not once, but every day.