Celebrate International Day of the Girl with WAGGGS!

11 October 2012

Join us in celebrating the first ever International Day of the Girl by participating in our collaborative blog and survey projects.

Finally, the long awaited day is here! The first ever International Day of the Girl comes to highlight the challenges girls worldwide are facing and to promote equal rights and opportunities for girls around the world.

From girls’ empowerment marches in Zimbabwe, to the launch of a new advocates programme for girls in Australia, to young women in Madagascar talking about ending violence on a global Google hangout with UN Women, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in over 50 countries are celebrating the International Day of the Girl on 11 October 2012.

IDG postcardThe blog site The World We Want for Girls launched as part of our The World We Want for Girls campaign has already received hundreds of entries, including drawings, stories, statements, films and photos, creating a vision of a perfect world for girls.

“My perfect world for girls is a world where girls have equal, better access to education, are free from violence and are empowered to make decisions about their lives,” said one blogger. 

IDG drawing

Many of the girls that already took The World We Want for Girls survey launched on 8 October have claimed that it is often challenging to be a girl where they live and it is more difficult for girls to reach their fullest potential compared to boys.

USA Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on International Day of the Girl that the founding of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting was “revolutionary” and that the first ever International Day of  the Girl could be equally historic.

“It’s a chance to reflect back not only a hundred years of Girl Scouting but also the first ever International Day of the Girl Child,” she said. “So what will we do to commemorate that? I think we have to commit ourselves to do more on behalf of girls everywhere.”

But here is what is so exciting about the day – it’s NOT a one day to celebrate, but a start of a new journey. 900 million of girls are a huge potential to tap on, a driving force that can drive communities and countries out of poverty, a generation of future leaders. Among these 900 million agents of change, we have identified six bright leaders - our International Day of the Girls Ambassadors who will help us to make sure that this is only the beginning.

Read on for examples of two Girl Guides who are taking the opportunity to speak out on International Day of the Girl.

Girls speaking out on International Day of the Girl

Kumbukani Mwanyongo

Kumbukani, a Girl Guide from Malawi and a previous WAGGGS delegate to Commission on the Status of Women, was interviewed by UN Women on the issue of child marriage.

She said: “Girls who were forced into marriage and are now divorced with children are now coming and opening up and encouraging other girls not to rush into or follow their parents’ wish of marrying them off early because marriage can wait while school cannot. Since it is a rural community I am becoming a role model for many girls since they are seeing me succeed in education.”

Read the full interview at the UniTE website

Alex Landers

Alex, a Girlguiding UK Advocate, who helped create and compile the Girls Attitudes Survey 2012, has written a thought-provoking essay on why it is so important to keep striving for gender equality.

She wrote: “With women facing extra pressure in the workplace, I need to do everything I can to prove that I’m valuable to my employer. It’s also hard to see how gender equality will be achieved within the workplace in the future if employers are too busy judging women by what they wear than by what they have achieved.”

Download and read Alex’s full essay

Your comments

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Sharon Parker - 12 October 2012 - 4.36PM (GMT)

How worthy an effort to improve and save half of our world.

Nanna F. Kjølholt - 11 October 2012 - 4.14PM (GMT)

This day is important and necessary, not only to girls and young women who live under the conditions portrayed in the movie, but also to girls and women living everywhere else. And it is not only important to girls and young women, but also to boys and men and everything in between! We all need for all to be able to enjoy their human rights and be able to develop and use their full potential in order for us to create a better world for all of us.

Today I called a young women "a girl", and right after realized that my colleges found it wrong, that I was paying a grown up less respect then she deserved by referring to her in a way as a child. I agree with them and I corrected my self in the same sentence, even though it was not meant out of disrespect. To me there is great value in being a child, and in being a girl. To be a girl - is to me one of the finest things you can be!

However we do need to watch our words, and consider what meaning they contain, besides the one we might attend. Calling grown up women girls, can devaluate their authority and dignity, until the day we all know how amazing girls are. Not only because of good looks and capability to have fun - but also because of their ideas, strong will and what else their full potential contains.

So in the end let me just wish for the future "girls day campaigns" from WAGGGS to be a little bit more careful with the words it uses. I hope that it will be a little less "black/white" than this one. That it will show the diversity among girls. I know girls in many countries under very different conditions and there are many girls in the world of "now" that don't fit the portrait and there are also girls in the world of "hope" that won't fit the portrait - e.g. choosing a husband, maybe they prefer a wife or not to be married at all.

I believe in opening up the complexities of these - important, and yes difficult - issues if we truly want to make a lasting change and a better world for all of us!

And besides that let me just add that I am very proud to be a member of WAGGGS and the work we all do:)

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