International Day of the Girl

Like all of us, I look forward to many days throughout the year -- birthdays, weddings, holidays -- but this year there’s one day in particular I simply cannot wait for: October 11, 2012.  That will be the first-ever United Nations International Day of the Girl.


It’s a day to celebrate the work being done worldwide by and for girls’ rights. And mind you, this isn’t just about doing work on behalf of girls -- but supporting the many, many girls worldwide who are already engaged, quite literally, in changing the world.


But here’s what’s so exciting about this day: it’s not only a day to celebrate girls, but a day for action. So that all of us, worldwide, can stop and ask ourselves -- what’s the next step?  How do we move our advocacy forward?  How can we best translate our shared energy and commitment into action, into tangible results for girls throughout the world?


In reserving a day for advocacy and action by and for girls, the UN has signaled its commitment to end gender stereotypes, discrimination, violence, and economic disparities that disproportionately affect girls... including gender violence, early marriage, child labor, and discrimination at work.


Regular readers of this column will know that the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of women is something I feel passionately about.


And that one of the most important ingredients in changing the status quo is having a posse -- people who will watch our back as we do the difficult work of effecting change.


The Day of the Girl gives us the chance to do something incredible -- to begin building an international posse, one committed to acknowledging the challenges girls under 18 face, and then working together to effect change.  


Here in New York, I’m very excited about Emotional Creature, a new play written by none other than Eve Ensler.  As one of the producers, I could not be more proud of the incredible women and girls in this project.  As The Vagina Monologues took us into the minds and hearts of women everywhere, so this takes us into the secret life of girls around the world.

And of course, in talking about empowering girls, my thoughts go straight to the  inspiring work of Shree Bose, Naomi Shah and Lauren Hodge -- the “Google Girls” who won the Google Science fair, and all of our respect and admiration when they spoke at the 2011 TEDxWomen conference.  Girls were a big presence at TEDxWomen this year, as Rachel Simmons also spoke, an incredible and compassionate leader in empowering girls. Her GirlTips are powerful reminders for all of us.


Please share about your Girl Posse, and also join me in celebrating all the hard work done by many women, men, and organizations to get the UN to declare October 11 the International Day of the Girl Child.