Celebrate the First International Day of the Girl With Women and Girls Lead

Mothers have a day. Fathers have a day. Earth has its day. Even television has a special day recognized by the UN. But never have we set aside a day of observance to honor girls. Until today.

October 11th marks the first ever International Day of the Girl. The UN declared the day of observance in 2011 after girls lobbied to be included among the more than 100 days officially recognized by the UN. Today, the Women and Girls Lead campaign joins organizations worldwide in celebrating the girl leaders who challenge the status quo to better their communities, and we pause to shed light on the unique challenges girls experience when faced with both age and gender discrimination.

Our partner CARE is seizing the opportunity to bring attention to the issue of child marriage. Twenty-five thousand child marriages occur each day in countries around the world, affecting mostly girls from the poorest families. Girl brides are robbed of both their childhood and their future. They are more vulnerable to physical abuse, contracting HIV or other diseases, and dying while pregnant or giving birth. In addition, they are less likely to complete their education and access work opportunities that can break the cycle of poverty they were born into.

In the month leading up to the Day of the Girl, CARE has mobilized its supporters to take action to end child marriage using facts, quizzes, social media, and video. Learn how you can get involved in the campaign and learn the stories first hand by watching the Women and Girls Lead film I Was Worth 50 Sheep.

I Was Worth 50 Sheep, which premiered on the PBS Global Voices September 2nd, follows Sabere, a girl from a poor family in Afghanistan who was sold to a man 40 years her senior when she was only 10 years old. After six years of marriage and four miscarriages, Sabere escapes her husband and finds refuge in a safe house, only to learn that her now 10-year-old sister Farzane will too be sold to a man for the bride price of 50 sheep. Watch the full film online.

In addition to CARE’s campaign to end child marriage, our partners at the Girl Scouts are teaming up with 30 other girl empowerment organizations to host a Day of the Girl Virtual Summit. Through 11 days of coordinated action and online chats, girls from around the world are connecting to celebrate and discuss their unique experiences. Among the activities, girls will host online social screenings of the Women and Girls Lead film Shadya.

Like many 17-year-old-girls, Shadya enjoys listening to music and hanging out with friends. But unlike most other girls, she is also a world champion in karate, a feminist in a male-dominated culture, and a Muslim Arab living in Israel. Follow her story as she journeys from teenage girl to woman, from daughter to wife, and from one family to another. Watch the full film.

Make your day today one dedicated to honoring the girls in your life and join the Women and Girls Lead campaign on Facebook and Twitter to highlight and promote the rights of girls worldwide every single day of the year.