October 11, 2022 is the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl Child. The past 10 years have seen an increase in the attention given to issues that matter to girls amongst governments, policymakers and the general public yet investments in girls rights remains limited and girls continue to confront a myriad of challenges to fulfilling their potential. This is made worse by the additional challenges of climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic and humanitarian conflict.
Girls around the world continue to face unprecedented challenges to their education, their physical and mental wellness and the protections needed for a life without violence. Girls with disabilities face additional barriers to accessing support and services. The pandemic has worsened existing burdens on girls around the world and worn away important gains made over the last decade.
However, with adversity comes resilience and the worlds 600 million adolescent girls have shown that they can be change makers when given the skills and opportunities and can help to drive progress in their communities.
The fight for change is not an easy one. Recent and ongoing world events are a reflection of the ferocious battle that girls continue to fight, with many sacrificing their lives in the fight against tyrannical and oppressive regimes.
The civil unrest and protests in Iran are a current example of the realities facing millions of girls. https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/irans-protests-are-the-first-counterrevolution-led-by-women
Closer to home, girls have had their rights clawed back in recent months. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2022/10/02/100-days-since-roe-v-wade-was-overturned-the-11-biggest-consequences/?sh=248831227464
While we often feel safe here in Canada (and we are in many ways), we are not immune from the erosion of rights that others have fought so hard for.
Today is a day dedicated to celebrating the voices and power of girls, fighting for their rights worldwide and reflecting on the challenges they continue to face because of their gender.
International Day of the Girl Child serves as a reminder that we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.