This Thursday 11 October marks the first-ever International Day of the Girl.
In a world where the adolescent girl is so often ignored, this is a day to highlight the unique challenges that girls face, raise awareness of girls’ rights and celebrate girls’ potential to change their communities for the better.
Spotlight on child marriage
Child marriage has been chosen as the official theme for the inaugural Day of the Girl: a sign of increasing awareness that girls’ empowerment will be impossible unless we address the fact that every single day, 25,000 girls around the world are married off before they turn 18.
As Desmond Tutu and Graça Machel recently wrote: “Choices define us and allow us to realise our potential. Child marriage robs girls of this chance.”
The issue of child marriage is often set aside as a sensitive ‘cultural’ issue; something that is taboo and difficult to address. Over the last two years, The Elders have worked to challenge this assumption and put child marriage at the top of the global development agenda. In 2010 they began to forge a global coalition of organisations tackling early marriage around the world. Read more about Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.
Take action to help end child marriage
This International Day of the Girl is an opportunity to highlight some of the inspiring work already being done to tackle child marriage, as well as a chance to join together and call on the international community to support programmes and laws aimed at ending this harmful practice.
With the Millennium Development Goals expiring in 2015, it is also an important moment to encourage world leaders to make the needs of the adolescent girl a focus in any post-MDG development framework.
Join The Elders and Girls Not Brides in marking the day:
Watch and share our new video: International Day of the Girl: fulfil girls' potential; end child marriage
Join Mary Robinson, Christy Turlington, experts and activists who will be discussing child marriage and answering your questions in a live Google+ Hangout on 11 October. We’ll be streaming the Hangout from The Elders’ website and anyone can take part by sending in questions and watching the live discussion. (You don’t need to be signed up to Google+!)
Join one of the hundreds of organisations and individuals worldwide – including more than 50 members of the Girls Not Brides partnership in 30 different countries – celebrating the International Day of the Girl with activities and events designed to raise awareness about girls’ rights. Find an event near you.