President’s Post: International Day of the Girl Child

Dear Soroptimists,

Since 2012, the United Nations adopted the International Day of the Girl Child and ever since, 11 October is marked as a critical moment to celebrate the power of girls and the fulfillment of their human rights, worldwide. Girls Day also highlights and addresses the needs and challenges girls face.

For almost one hundred years, Soroptimists have been transforming the lives and status of women and girls through education, empowerment and enabling opportunities. Together with other worldwide NGOs, SI is promoting the UN Day of the Girl Child, just like Plan International, who led the call for an international day of recognition for girls.

Let us stop and consider the situation of girls today! Let’s celebrate International Day of the Girl Child and talk to people at home and in the office. Ask them what they know about girls’ rights, or what we can do to help eradicate the violations of girls’ rights. Do you know that every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world an adolescent girl dies due to violence? Let’s join and share the message on this year’s International Day of the Girl. The theme this year is: “EmPOWER Girls: Before, during and after crises”.

Please click here to view the UN Women’s video.

The world’s 1.1 billion girls are a source of power, energy, and creativity – and the millions of girls in emergencies are no exception. 11 October 2017, marks the beginning of a year-long effort to spur global attention and action to the challenges and opportunities girls face before, during, and after crises.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, accepted a challenge from Plan International, Canada to share his office with 23-year-old Breanne Lavallee-Heckert, to show that #GirlsBelongHere (and everywhere) – girls belong in their dream jobs!  Trudeau says: “Let’s encourage girls to dream big and make sure they know they can do anything, anywhere”.

Do we need an International Day of the Girl Child? As Soroptimists we say: YES of course and facts and figures confirm this!

  • There are around 600 million girls aged 10 to 19 in the world today, each with limitless individual potential, many of whom are not given the education, healthcare, access to clean water, sanitation, food, or the access to justice and safety that they need to achieve this potential.
  • In 2012, violence was the second leading cause of death amongst ​adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 19 worldwide.
  • Almost one quarter (around 70 million) of girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide said they were the victims of some form of physical violence, since the age of 15. ​
  • ​More than 700 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday, and more than one in three (about 250 million) entered the union before the age of 15.

Our mission has nowhere near been completed.

Let us continue to work at every local, national and international level of our Soroptimist organisation towards a better world for girls.

These girls are our  future and they deserve our support.

Have a nice girls’ day.

Mariet Verhoef-Cohen

SI President

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