“Empowerment of and investment in girls are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights.” — United Nations Resolution 66/170
Did you know that Saturday, October 11, 2014 will mark the third observance of International Day of the Girl Child? The United Nations declared the day to raise awareness about the many gender inequalities facing girls globally.
The goals of the observance—
- girls’ education to be prioritized by world leaders
- girls’ completion of a quality secondary education to be a major focus of international action
- funding for girls education to be increased
- an end to child marriage
- an end to gender-based violence in and around schools
- girls and boys to participate in decision making and inspire those with power to take action.
These goals are best approached through a local context. For example, child marriage is not an issue in the United States but there are still inequalities in the messages that girls receive through play, toys, marketing and media that boys rarely hear about marriage.
But there is no stretch in engaging this year’s theme Empowering adolescent girls: Ending the cycle of violence. American girls are engulfed in a culture of violence against women and girls, and it is a part of the fabric expressed in entertainment—movies, video games, music and the fashion industry–that sexualizes the female gender, particularly the young.
So what can you do to observe on Saturday? Glad you asked. First, look at Saturday as the day to start your observance and here are a few things you can do.
- Share this blog post on your Facebook page.
- Wear a blue shirt on Saturday and every Monday in October to support the Stomp Out Bullying campaign and tell people why.
- Take some girls to breakfast, lunch or spend the day listening to what they know, think and feel about violence. Talk about how they can make a difference.
- Think about one action you can take towards ending the cycle of violence where you are.
- And, make sure you share with the girls in your life how valuable they are and that you are a safe place for them.
Valora K Starr is director for discipleship.