"One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world," said Malala Yousafzai, a young woman who was shot in the head by the Taliban. But not every child has that opportunity. There are nearly 31 million girls worldwide who are out of school at this very moment, which doesn't include the millions of girls who have received poor or low quality education. As a result of this continuous cycle of removing girls from the classroom, economic productivity has dropped, there is high infant and maternal mortality, rising health problems, child marriages and violence against woman and girls.
Which is why today, on October 11, the United Nations has designated a day for promoting girls' rights called "International Day of the Girl Child." On this day, millions around the world will be standing up and demanding equality for all girls. The day will be celebrated both here in the United States and abroad because girls' rights is a global issue that has the potential to affect everyone's mother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. Former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton stated, "Women's rights is not just a moral issue or a fairness issue; it is a security issue, a prosperity issue, a peace issue... it is in the vital interest of the United States of America." By providing woman and girls equal rights, both under the law and in our hearts, we can help to create a world where everyone benefits.
According to the World Bank, by 2015, females will account for 64% of the world's adult population who are illiterate. These will be women who won't be able to do basic math, read, write and in turn, will not be able to fully participate in society. This will make them vulnerable to abuse and society as a whole will suffer drastically. The Day of the Girl is a way for everyone to do their part and demand more, so that no classroom door is ever closed on a girl, so that no girl is married off before her 15th birthday and so that every person, regardless of their gender, has the opportunity to reach their full potential. Why? Because she could be your daughter.
Where to learn more about girls' rights:
•Day of the Girl: http://dayofthegirl.org/overview-injustices-locally-globally/
•Advancing The Rights Of Women And Girls: A Cornerstone Of U.S. Foreign Policy: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/185687.pdf
•Plan International: http://plan-international.org/what-we-do/education/