International Day of the Girl Child: How one key date aims to change the future of girls around the globe

The Independent

Fistula Foundation CEO Kate Grant is quoted in this article about the International Day of the Girl Child:

By Kate Hilperin for The Independent

Mariama was married off to an older man without her consent, aged 13. Early marriage is a major problem in her country of Niger. It doesn’t stop there: every year, globally, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18: 28 girls every minute.

All adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated and healthy life. Indeed, if they’re effectively supported during these critical formative years, girls have the potential to change the world – both as empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, entrepreneurs, mothers, mentors, household heads and political leaders.

The problem is in many countries, the particular needs and challenges that adolescent girls face – which differ dramatically from those of boys, and are often a world away from adult women’s – are often missed, with early marriage just one of many issues destroying these girls’ lives. Even in areas where social programmes are in place, help is all too often focused on either children or adults, with nothing in between.

No wonder the theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl Child (IDOGC) is ‘The Power of the Adolescent Girl,’ and more specifically a vision for 2030. The timing, says a spokesperson for the UN, could not be more opportune. This year, as the international community assesses progress under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) since their implementation in 2000 and sets goals to be achieved by 2030, girls born at the turn of the millennium have reached adolescence, and the generation of girls born this year will be adolescents in 2030.

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