International Day – and Year – of the Girl

Article Date

10 October 2014

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

Ahead of the International Day of the Girl, a day designated for promoting the rights of girls and addressing the challenges they face, nearly 20 organizations committed to empowering women and girls have joined forces to urge world leaders to put adolescent girls at the heart of the next round of negotiations on the post-2015 global development agenda.

“As we have seen in the example of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai, when girls are supported and empowered, they can be game-changers – powerful forces for social change and for sustainable development. But if we do not address the particular challenges and needs of adolescent girls, we will lose their enormous potential,” said Suzanne Petroni, Senior Director, Gender, Population and Development at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW).

ICRW has joined in this effort with a range of global organizations united in support of the Girl Declaration, which was designed to connect girls’ voices with global policymakers.  It was developed through consultations with more than 500 adolescent girls living in poverty around the world – and more than 25 international development organizations and issue experts – who voiced what they feel they need to reach their full potential.

Today’s call to action reiterates the Girl Declaration’s outline of the key issues affecting adolescent girls that must be addressed in the post-2015 agenda, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to empower adolescent girls and end the cycle of violence.  Specifically, organizations are calling on governments to develop a post-2015 agenda that will enable adolescent girls to:

  • Lead healthy lives
  • Be free from all harmful practices, especially child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
  • Be safe from violence and discrimination and have access to justice
  • Complete free, equitable and quality secondary education in a safe and supportive learning environment; and
  • Be heard.

“This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure that adolescent girls’ needs are addressed and included in global poverty alleviation efforts. Girls hold the key to real and sustainable progress in global development efforts to eradicate poverty and build equitable, peaceful and prosperous future for all,” added Petroni.