International Day of the Girl Child: Promoting girls’ empowerment

October 11 is International Day of the Girl Child, an international observance day declared by the United Nations. 

The date, also called the Day of the Girls or International Day of the Girl, is meant to recognize, champion, and advocate for girls’ rights around the world.

This year the United Nations, Plan International Canada, and girls around the world celebrate International Day of the Girl Child under the theme "Digital generation. Our generation.” The theme recognizes the importance of digital literacy and inclusion to the internet and digital devices for young girls. 

While the pandemic has helped to accelerate digital learning and use of platforms to connect on, 2.2 billion people below the age of 25 still do not have internet access at home. Girls especially will encounter barriers to access because of distinct gendered economic and social barriers.

According to a 2020 World Wide Web Foundation report, men are 21 per cent more likely to be online than women and this rises to 51 per cent for countries in least developed countries.

In Canada, we are quite lucky that the vast majority of individuals have household Internet access. However even in Canada there remains a geographic divide for some Indigenous communities, low-income families, and Francophones

"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants," - Coco Chanel

The internet is a powerful resource. Left unchallenged, these gaps in quality of access, connectivity, and digital skills will prevent girls from getting leadership roles.

The pandemic has especially been an eye opener for just how much digital access can change things for us. We have seen in response to COVID-19 changes to how we get health care updates, education, grocery orders and even social connection.

It's important to remember how these resources, which many of us take for granted, might not be as readily available to some individuals. 

"We cannot afford for girls to be left out of the digital transformation. Not only do digital inclusion and literacy open new avenues for girls’ learning and earning, technology is a crucial enabler of the change girls are already leading around the world in areas such as gender equality, climate action and social justice."

- UN Women Statement for International Day of the Girl Child

As we celebrate the voices and empower girls here in Canada, and around the world, we want to take the time to also reflect on the challenges girls continue to face because of their gender. 

At Covergalls we are thankful for our privilege of access to digital platforms and amazing networks of women and girls. We continue to stay committed to creating a world that allows equal access and opportunity to rights, safety, and learning regardless of your gender identity or social or economic barriers. 

Resources for today

Check out hER VOLUTION, a Toronto go to place for youth who wish to develop STEM-based skills. hEr VOLUTION was founded by Doina Oncel based on personal experience as well as research with the belief that once we accept diversity, opportunities for women in STEM fields will rise.

Share the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program. The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum estimates that only one in ten apprentices are female.  Many girls don’t consider trades as a career path because of the traditional perception that trades are for males. The OYAP recognizes that trades are for everyone and girls can be in skilled trades too!

Visit Plan International Canada, a member of a global organization dedicated to advancing children’s rights and equality for girls. Plan International has been building powerful partnerships for children for over 80 years and is now active in more than 75 countries. 

Read about the inspiring stories of girls around the world on UN Women's website

Learn how misinformation and disinformation are impacting young girls through the State of the World's Girls 2021 Report. 

Teach your kids about media literacy. MediaSmarts is a Canadian not-for-profit centre that develops digital and media literacy programs and resources for Canadian homes, schools and communities.

Follow #DAYOFTHEGIRL on social media or find a new organization which promotes empowering girls to follow.