The International Day of the Girl Child

(Disponible en français La Journée internationale de la fille)

Laura Munn-Rivard
Legal and Social Affairs Division
10 October 2014

On 11 October 2014, Canada and the international community will be celebrating the third annual International Day of the Girl Child. The occasion serves to recognize the rights of girls and highlight the unique challenges they face daily.

Canada Led the Call

The idea for an International Day of the Girl was first launched in Canada in 2009, as part of Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl campaign, with an online petition and an advocacy event.

In March 2011, the Minister for the Status of Women received the unanimous consent of the House of Commons to table a motion to have “Canada lead in the effort to propose a United Nations Resolution that would proclaim…an International Day of the Girl.” The motion received all-party support and was adopted.

The plan for an International Day of the Girl was formally proposed as a resolution by Canada in the United Nations General Assembly on 11 October 2011. Two months later, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare 11 October 2012 the first International Day of the Girl Child. Worldwide celebrations mark the annual event.

Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence

UNICEF, the United Nations lead agency for the Day, selected this year’s theme: Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence. This theme highlights the exposure of adolescent girls to violence, harassment and abuse, and examines how this exposure compromises girls’ safe and healthy transition from childhood to adulthood.

A 2009 UNICEF report on the International Girl Child Conference, A Study on Violence against Girls, acknowledges that girls globally face many different forms of violence: domestic violence, early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation and honour-related violence. The report also highlights the emerging and evolving world of Internet-based violence, in which new technology provides another forum where girls can be exposed to violence.

Further Reading