On December 19, 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
Girls face discrimination and violence every day across the world. The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
I’m very proud to say that the Canadian Government was instrumental in proposing International Day of the Girl Child to the United Nations General Assembly. Rona Ambrose, Canada’s Minister for the Status of Women at the time sponsored the resolution which began as a project of Plan International. The Canadian Government and Plan led a delegation of women and girls as they made presentations in support of the initiative at the 55th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. October 11, 2012 was recognized as the first International Day of the Girl Child. This day recognizes the potential of girls to contribute to the betterment of life in their communities. Girls historically face lack of education, discrimination and violence in developing countries.
The idea for an international day of observance and celebration grew out of Plan International’s Because I Am a Girl campaign, which raises awareness of the importance of nurturing girls around the world. Panama, like many Latin American countries is still very much a “man’s” country. Panama is behind in terms of legislation to protect women’s lives. Panama now has an international commitment with the committee that monitors compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and this must be completed before 2014.
Despite repeatedly trying to introduce legislation to protect women from domestic violence and femicide a law has yet to be put in place. Bill 401 is designed to require any person or company to report crimes of violence against women, or face penalties of six to 12 months in prison, imprisonment of 30 years for causing the death of a woman, because she is a woman and an amendment of the Penal Code increasing the prison term to five years for someone who causes or aids a woman in committing suicide. There is also a proposal to create a division of specialized prosecutors and judges for prosecutions of crimes against life and physical integrity of women in the Supreme Court.
As of this writing the bill has not been implemented. The reason given has been lack of funds. Women continue to fight for the rights of other women and change will develop eventually. Optimistically, the change will also come with the next generation of men accepting their spouses as their partners not possessions and having discourse with their spouse instead of a relationship of control. Hopefully the next generation of women and girls will have a law in place to protect their rights.
Today as Day of the Girl Child is recognized around the world, take the time think about how you can improve the life of a girl, wherever you are. Go ahead and visit the Plan International Home Page to see what activities are planned to celebrate, or just to raise your hand in support of girls. My hand is already raised for the girls in the campo, how about yours?
- International Day of the Girl Child observed on 11 October – Jagran Josh (jagranjosh.com)
- Today : International Day of the Girl Child : Oct 11th (propelsteps.wordpress.com)
- International Day of the Girl Child (tweedsmuirlibrary.wordpress.com)
- International Day of the Girl Child – 2013 (modernghana.com)
- Why We Need an International Day of the Girl Child (girlsglobe.org)
- Local students celebrate UN International Day of the Girl Child (blogs.abc.net.au)
- International Day of the Girl Child – Roar for the Power of Girls! (girlsglobe.org)
- Oct. 11 marks International Day of the Girl-Child (mainbaghihoon.wordpress.com)
- October Outreach: International Day of the Girl (centerforlivingpeace.wordpress.com)
- International Day of the Girl Child (thelovelylifestyle.com)