Here in the United States, when we talk about issues regarding women’s rights we often think of the wage gap and the fact we have yet to have a female president. Internationally, just being a female can be dangerous, especially for young girls. This is why the United Nations in 2011 declared October 11 to be International Day of the Girl.
This year, the theme is “Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement,” (UN Women). In order to fulfill Sustainable Development Goals, the UN is calling for improved data collection of issues that impact girls worldwide, such as child marriage.
Here are some of the troubling, but limited statistics:
1. In developing countries, one in three girls is married before age 18, preventing any opportunity for an education or a career (UN Women).
2. Every day, over 20,000 girls under age 18 give birth in developing countries—over 7 million a year (UN Women).
3. Pregnancy and childbirth complications cause the most deaths among 15-19 year olds (Huffington Post).
4. Worldwide, 35% of women have been subject to physical or sexual harassment (Huffington Post).
5. Gendercide in China and South Asia has taken the lives of a minimum of 100 million young girls (Huffington Post).
A 2009 UNICEF report on the International Girl Child Conference explains how violence against girls and women often goes unnoticed due to fear, stigma, and lack of resources and authorites to report to. Furthermore, issues that take place in the home are not discussed, a phenomenon that remains true even in the United States where only a little over half of cases are reported to authorities (US News). This is why in order to create a better world for the young women who carry the future, we need to research and understand the realities they face.
On October 11, more than 200 events will be taking place worldwide known as #GirlsTakeover which you can learn how to support by going to Plan International and finding ways to be involved.