Since 2012, the United Nations marks 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child. The day promotes girls’ human rights, highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and addresses the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the world.
This year, the theme is Empowering adolescent girls: Ending the cycle of violence. To mark the date, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka issued a special message, highlighting that violence against girls limits their choices, threatening their futures and those of generations to come. She strongly calls for the ending of harmful practices such as sexual violence, early and child marriage, and female genital mutilation (FGM) in order for all girls to reach their full potential. “Violence against girls, in all its forms, is a grave human rights violation rooted in gender inequality”, says the Executive Director. “Protecting girls from all forms of violence and promoting girls’ empowerment must be at the heart of the global development agenda.” You can read the full message here.
ChildFund Ireland works to develop an enabling environment where children’s basic needs are met and their rights are promoted and respected. Our vision is a world where children are protected, happy and free to enjoy their childhood. We actively fight for child protection, and together with ChildFund Alliance we are promoting the Free from Violence and Exploitation Campaign to raise awareness on the issue of violence against children and to ask governments for this issue to be included in the new global priorities when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) conclude in 2015. We are also involved in important networks such as the Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence and the Coalition for Children’s Rights, of which ChildFund Ireland was a founding member in 2012. ChildFund Ireland is also committed to the abandonment of the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and through our sponsorship programme we give support to all girls enrolled in our programmes so that they can get education and opportunities to thrive (you can read one of our many success stories here.
One of the key messages of the day is this: to end the cycle of violence against adolescent girls, we must empower girls with the knowledge, skills and resources and options they need to reach their potential. This is what ChildFund works for.