Updated: Nov 30, 2019
Written by Ana Vicéns
Eight years ago, the UN declared October 11 as International Day of the Girl “to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.” GRLKND agrees with the UN’s statement that “empowering girls helps them grow into strong, confident women,” so today we are talking to you about how to celebrate International Day of the Girl.
Below, you can learn of four girls who, through their activism, are making a difference. Whether it is by leading protests in favor of climate action, or starting an organization that empowers young people to use their voice for change, these young women are proof that girls can do anything and by recognizing them, we aim to bring to light the power that we all have.
Freya Brown, 16 – Brown first joined the climate action movement because she realized that it is not “a faraway problem” and saw the disproportionate impact climate change has, and she wants to do something about it. She says that “we need to be supporting and trying to help those most affected,” and is now one of Australia’s youth protests leaders fighting for change. As a climate action warrior, she wants the Australian government to “stop new fossil fuel projects.”
Havana Chapman Edwards, 8 – In 2018, Chapman-Edwards was the only student at her school to partake in the National School Walkout, a demonstration against continued gun violence. Since then, she has joined the fight for gun control, attending the March for Our Lives and continuing the walkout every year. She has also become an advocate for girls’ education, starting a book club, whose aim is to donate books to girls in need. She says, “You are never too little to make a difference…sometimes you just have to choose to change the world.
Katie Eder, 19 – At age 13, Eder founded an organization called Kids Tales with the purpose of bringing a voice to kids by providing them with writing workshops. Since then, she has continued with her activism for many causes, including gun reform and climate action. She has gone on to start 50 Miles More, a nationwide campaign to engage with elected officials to end gun violence in America. She is also one of the creators of the Future Coalition, a national network of youth-led organizations. “We have an obligation as people to help other people,” she says.
Payal Jangid, 17 – Jangid began her fight against child marriage at the young age of 11, when she found out that her parents had arranged marriages for her and her sister. She protested against the decision and the marriage was called off. She then started organizing protests in her village, which led to her movement growing and ultimately ended with what she calls her “greatest accomplishment:” Hinsla, the village where she grew up, became a village free of child marriage. Jangid is also an avid advocate for girls’ education.
Now that you have read of these four empowering girls, you might be wondering how you, too, can get involved today on the International Day of the Girl. Well, don’t fret; because here are some ways you can celebrate girls.
1. Attend a Day of the Girl event in person.
Many girls around the world take the opportunity to host an event today, usually in support of different organizations. Well, you too, can attend one of these wonderful events. From movie nights featuring strong female leads to all kinds of fundraisers, you can find different events to attend by searching for Day of the Girl on Facebook events, or by checking out UNICEF’s website, where you can access a list of events. If there are no events near you, create your own! Host a party where you listen to girl power anthems and have a great time with your friends.
2. Support women!
This one is fairly easy, yet powerful. By supporting girls and women in all things - from entrepreneurship to running for office – you can make a huge difference. When you empower other women, you empower the movement, and (ultimately) empower yourself. Shop and support women-owned businesses, consume content created by women, share women created art, and vote for women who are running for positions of power. Reach out to women you admire and let them know they’re doing a great job. Send letters to girls from around the world, pen-pal style. Whatever you do, make sure that you show support for those that need it most.
3. Educate and advocate.
Go online and educate yourself about issues girls face around the world, and then aim to make a difference. A good source is the UN Women’s website and social media pages, where they share facts, stories, and ways that you can get involved. Once you are educated about some issues you feel very passionate about, whether it is talking about female genital mutilation or the wage gap between men and women in the workplace, be fearless and speak out about it! Use your voice to empower those that don’t have the opportunity to speak freely about such issues, and help spread the word.
4. Speak up on social media.
Social media is a very powerful tool that can enable change to happen rapidly and (seemingly) effortlessly. That’s why this step goes hand in hand with many of the others on this list. Use this to your advantage! Share your story, or the story of other girls, around the world. Share your art, your voice, what you are passionate about, your skills, but most importantly, share the content of girls and young women who do the same - and encourage others to join in as well. Lastly, make sure you partake in social media movements by using hashtags such as #GirlsToo, #GenerationEquality, and #MarchForSisterhood.
5. Donate to or get involved with organizations that aim to empower girls.
There are a number of organizations around the world whose purpose is to empower girls and they need our support and involvement. That’s why, on this Day of the Girl, aim to donate to these organizations, follow them on social media, or reach out and see how you can get involved with them. All these things can make a difference in young girls’ lives. There are endless projects and organizations you can support, such as The Girl Project, which is centered around girls’ education; Girls For a Change, a source for girls to get involved in social change, and many others.
International Day of the Girl exists as a reminder that, although women have accomplished a lot, there is still so much we must overcome. We have to fight harder for the same rights, but we shall continue our fight towards equality. On this and every day, remember that there’s nothing more powerful than a girl who stands up for basic human rights and that the support you provide goes a very long way.