In 2012, the United Nations declared October 11th as International Day of the Girl: a day to raise awareness of the gender inequality that girls face worldwide. The project stemmed from Plan International’s ‘Because I Am a Girl’ campaign, which focuses on girls’ education. The official resolution passed by the U.N. states that the “empowerment of and investment in girls, which are critical for economic growth…are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights.” The Day of the Girl events across the globe, from t-shirt sales to summits, hope to answer this call to strive for gender equality.
Last Sunday, American University held its third annual Day of the Girl Summit. The event was sponsored by AU’s chapter of “She’s the First.” an international organization that “provides scholarships to girls in low-income countries, fostering first-generation graduates and cultivating the next generation of global leaders.” The day kicked off with keynote speakers Tammy Tibbetts and Christen Brandt, co-founders of She’s the First. Both discussed their passion for empowering girls through educational opportunities. They also discussed the importance of social media in the organization’s success. The summit featured panels focused on areas including Women’s Health Issues, Women’s Economic Empowerment, Feminist Voice in Politics & Media, Preventing Gender-Based Violence, and Access to Education for Girls.
Closing keynote speaker, Bernadette Francis, a coordinator for Girl Up, best expressed an echoing theme of the panels saying “You invest in a girl, you invest in her family, community, and the world. The investment in a girl’s education is the most sound investment you can make.” With that mindset, it might be possible for everyday to be a “day of the girl” as society gets closer to bridging the gender gap, one girl at a time.
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