At the moment, there's roughly 1.1 billion young girls around the globe. And even though we've made great progress to make their lives better, there are still serious issues concerning their wellbeing: An average of 15 million girls marry before the age of 18 yearly; every 10 minutes, a teenage girl dies as a result of violence; and 130 million girls between the ages of 6 and 17 are not in school.
That's why, in an effort to recognize these persistent obstacles, the United Nations declared October 11 as International Day of the Girl. The initiative began in 2012, and this year it's focused on empowering girls who have been victims of armed conflicts or natural disasters. From the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to Turkey and Ukraine, there will be events all around the world celebrating International Day of the Girl — and discussing how can we help empower girls everywhere.
"On the International Day of the Girl Child, let us commit to investing in skills training and education for girls and livelihood activities for young women around the world who are facing crises," UN Women said in a statement. "Far from being passive recipients of assistance, these girls are leaders who will use the skills that they develop today to rebuild their communities, and create a better future for all of us."
If you want to celebrate International Day of the Girl, here's some things you can do to get involved:
Engage in conversation: Online, you can use the hashtag #DayOfTheGirl to join the conversation or you can visit DayOfTheGirl.org to learn more about ways you can advocate for girls. Offline, you should talk it out with your family, friends, and acquaintances. Ask yourself: In which ways can we support girls today (and always)?
Check out organizations dedicated to empowering girls around the world: There's many organizations taking on these challenges, from ending child marriage, to helping with girls' education, providing healthcare, and fighting poverty. These include the Malala Fund, She's The First, CARE International, Camfed, and Girls Not Brides. They could use your support, be it through donations or volunteering.
Support the girls in your life: Today, and everyday, remind every girl that you encounter that they're powerful, they matter, and they're an essential part of our future. And don't forget to put those words into action, because it's on us to create a better world for all girls.