Girls walking together outside Yomelela Primary School, Cape Town South Africa,1 June 2015.
The world is home to more than 1.1 billion girls under age 18, who are poised to become the largest generation of female leaders, entrepreneurs and change-makers the world has ever seen.
Photo:UN Women/Ryan Brown

My Voice, Our Equal Future

Progress for adolescent girls has not kept pace with the realities they face today, and COVID-19 has reinforced many of these gaps. This year, under the theme, “My Voice, Our Equal Future”, let’s seize the opportunity to be inspired by what adolescent girls see as the change they want, the solutions- big and small- they are leading and demanding across the globe.

In 2020, we commemorate 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – the global agenda for advancing the rights and empowerment of women and girls, everywhere. Generation Equality was also launched in early 2020 as a multi-year, multi-partner campaign and movement for bold action on gender equality. A clear narrative and actions related to the needs and opportunities of adolescent girls and their solutions is central to the Generation Equality mission.

As adolescent girls worldwide assert their power as change-makers, International Day of the Girl 2020 will focus on their demands to:

  • Live free from gender-based violence, harmful practices, and HIV and AIDS  
  • Learn new skills towards the futures they choose  
  • Lead as a generation of activists accelerating social change

Ways to get involved

  • Share stories of inspiring adolescent girls or girl-led organizations who are developing innovative solutions or leading efforts towards positive social change, including gender equality, in their communities and nations. Let’s amplify their leadership, actions and impact to inspire others.  
  • Participate in a youth-led digital activation launching on International Day of the Girl. Young people across the world are developing a digital activism campaign, aiming to raise the diversity of girls’ voices and their vision for a reimagined future.  

 

Girls in class room. Credit: UNICEF

How COVID-19 Impacts Women And Girls

A profound shock to our societies and economies, the COVID-19 pandemic underscores society’s reliance on women both on the front line and at home, while simultaneously exposing structural inequalities across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection.

 

Background

In 1995 at the World Conference on Women in Beijing countries unanimously adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing the rights of not only women but girls. The Beijing Declaration is the first to specifically call out girls’ rights.

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.

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 fulfilment of their human rights.

Adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years, but also as they mature into women. If effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world – both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, and political leaders. An investment in realising the power of adolescent girls upholds their rights today and promises a more equitable and prosperous future, one in which half of humanity is an equal partner in solving the problems of climate change, political conflict, economic growth, disease prevention, and global sustainability.

Girls are breaking boundaries and barriers posed by stereotypes and exclusion, including those directed at children with disabilities and those living in marginalized communities. As entrepreneurs, innovators and initiators of global movements, girls are creating a world that is relevant for them and future generations.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in 2015, embody a roadmap for progress that is sustainable and leaves no one behind.

Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is integral to each of the 17 goals. Only by ensuring the rights of women and girls across all the goals will we get to justice and inclusion, economies that work for all, and sustaining our shared environment now and for future generations.

 

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Empowering women and girls and promoting gender equality is crucial to accelerating sustainable development. Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but it also has a multiplier effect across all other development areas.

Did you know?

  • Worldwide, nearly 1 in 4 girls aged 15–19 years is neither employed nor in education or training compared to 1 in 10 boys of the same age. By 2021 around 435 million women and girls will be living on less than $1.90 a day — including 47 million pushed into poverty as a result of COVID-19.
  • 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence. Emerging data shows that since the outbreak of COVID-19, violence against women and girls (VAWG), and particularly domestic violence, has INTENSIFIED.
  • At least 60% of countries still discriminate against daughters’ rights to inherit land and non-land assets in either law or practice.

A New Era For Girls

Today’s more than 1.1 billion girls are poised to take on the future. Every day, girls are breaking boundaries and barriers, tackling issues like child marriage, education inequality, violence, climate justice, and inequitable access to healthcare. Girls are proving they are unstoppable. Learn more.

Resources

Key Documents

Publications

Useful Links

Related Observancess

A mural signifies women’s empowerment and freedom from violence in Guatemala City.

Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and, therefore, also half of its potential. Gender equality, besides being a fundamental human right, is essential to achieve peaceful societies, with full human potential and sustainable development. Moreover, it has been shown that empowering women spurs productivity and economic growth.

drawing of young woman with hand up, saying STOP

Five unexpected, and critical, takeaways from UNFPA’s flagship 2020 State of World Population report. Without urgent action, the situation for women and girls could worsen.

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.