UN Women - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

International Day of the Girl Child 2012

About the Day

The United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2011 voted to designate 11 October as the ‘International Day of the Girl Child' (see UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/66/170 on International Day of the Girl Child). The day promotes girls' human rights, highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and addresses the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the globe.

For the inaugural day, UN agencies have come together to focus on child marriage, which is a fundamental human rights violation and impacts all aspects of a girl's life. Globally, more than one in three young women aged 20-24 years were married before they reached age 18. One third of them entered into marriage before they turned 15.

Preventing child marriage will protect girls' rights and help reduce their risks of violence, early pregnancy, HIV infection, and maternal death and disability.

The Issue

For more information on UN Women's position to end child marriage, see:

Background, facts and figures about the challenges young girls face around the world:

Events

At UN Headquarters, a high-level panel discussion, co-organized by UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and Girls Not Brides, took place on Thursday, 11 October, and was webcast live (1:15-2:45pm EDT time).

Speeches & Statements

Video Message from UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet

To mark the first celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October 2012, Executive Director Michelle Bachelet speaks to girls around the world and emphasizes UN Women's commitment to stand beside them in support of their rights. She pledges that UN Women will work with governments and other partners to advance girls' education, health and well-being in order to attain a world where girls can live free from fear, violence and discrimination.

Feature Stories

Women watch groups mobilize girls in Ethiopia to speak out against arranged marriage: the story of Fetura Mohammed
With the help of a local rights programme in Ethiopia, a brave 14-year-old girl testified against her father in court to avoid being forced into an arranged marriage. Read more»

Q&A with Kumbukani Mwanyongo about confronting child marriage
A peer facilitator in Malawi talks about her work to educate girls about their rights and speak out against child marriage. Read more»

Allies against violence: fatherhood training to end discrimination against women in Turkey
In Turkey a ‘fatherhood programme' is mobilizing awareness on prevention of violence against women and girls by promoting gender sensitivity and equity among fathers. Read more»

A key milestone toward gender equality is passed in Albania, bringing hope to many
For many young girls in rural Albania, education is often only a dream. But Albania's National Council of Ministers recently approved a gender mainstreaming budget directive, expected to increase investment in programmes for women and girls. Read more»