International Day of the Girl Child

Millions of people across the world will join together on 11 October 2012 to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child; to address the challenges they face and promote girls’ rights, so that every girl can reach her full potential.

In many countries, simply being born a girl will mean a child is subject to widespread discrimination and abuse.  The girl child is at greater risk of malnutrition, hunger and disease compared to her brothers.  She will have fewer opportunities for an education and a career.[i]


  • In many developing countries one out of seven girls marries before the age of 15.[ii]
  • Pregnancy and childbirth are a significant cause of death for girls and young women aged 15 to 19 worldwide.[iii]
  • As many as 150 million girls and young women under 18 have experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence involving physical contact.[iv]
  • In Australia, girls are more likely to be the subject of substantiated sexual abuse than boys.[v]

One of the most pressing challenges facing girls across the world is access to quality education. There are 75 million girls out of school globally.[vi]  In South Sudan, a girl is more likely to die in childbirth than to finish primary school.[vii]

Investing in education for girls not only makes a difference for them, it also makes a difference for their families, their communities and for global prosperity. Educated girls are empowered girls.

Empowering girls requires their active participation in decision-making processes and the active support and engagement of their parents, legal guardians, families and care providers, as well as boys and men and the wider community.


  • Each additional year of school for a girl has the potential to raise her income later in life by 15 per cent.[viii]
  • When mothers can read, their child is 50 per cent more likely to survive past age five.[ix]
  • HIV/AIDS rates are halved among women who complete primary education.[x]
  • Educated girls are better able to contribute to social, economic and political decision making.[xi]

In Australia, while a majority of girls who start high school are likely to study until Year 12, we’re still seeing low numbers of women going on to complete degrees in science, engineering and technology and later obtaining employment in such male-dominated sectors.[xii]

Girls and boys in Australia today should have equal opportunities to achieve lifetime economic security and become business and community leaders of the future.  Achieving gender equality not only benefits women and girls but the entire Australian community.


  • Raise your hand and help improve the lives of four million girls. to find out more about the Plan in AustraliaBecause I am a Girl campaign.
  • Attend the free Plan International event at City Square in Melbourne on 11 October 2012 and “Raise your Hand” for girls’ education. The event runs from 9am-2pm with the official welcome and address with host Imogen Bailey from 12.30-1pm.

Attend the UN Women Australia Sydney Chapter – International Day of the Girl Child Lunch and Panel Discussion in Sydney on Thursday 11 October 2012.