5 Things You Can Do to Honor the Day of the Girl, by Oluwatobi Adeyinka
Updated: Dec 10, 2019
The United Nations has declared October 11 the International Day of the Girl Child (or Day of the Girl). This day has a unique origin going back to 1995 in Beijing at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women which 30,000 women from 200 countries attended. At the end of the conference, a resolution called the Beijing Declaration was ratified, which specifically mentions the unique challenges faced by women and girls and affirms that women’s rights are human rights. It was not until Dec 19, 2011, that the United Nations General Assembly formally designated October 11 as the Day of the Girl. This year’s theme is GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable to showcase the ways in which young girls and women have overcome their individual challenges and continue to break through barriers to success.
This week we at GirlBlazer, will be honoring the Day of the Girl by highlighting Isra Hirsi in our TrailBlazerTuesday series. In our next blog post, I will discuss young women like Thandiwe Chama (a Zambian educational rights activist), Mikalia Ulmer (a young entrepreneur doing her part to save the bees) and Asia Newson (Detroit’s youngest entrepreneur).
I am excited to work with GirlBlazer to showcase inspiring young women. As a young girl, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family where I was given access to the same opportunities as my brother. My parents always encouraged me to further my education so I would be able to provide for myself in the future. They never made me feel less important or capable because of my gender.
I remember when I was in high school, I had a conversation with my Dad. He told me that I needed to have good grades, so I could get a good degree and be able to stand on my own two feet without needing to rely on a husband. He wanted to make sure that I had the tools to be able to fend for myself as an adult and that was the best advice I ever got.
As a teenager, I was shocked to find that my upbringing was not the norm around the world, even in Canada, where I am from. I remember seeing a commercial geared towards promoting STEM for girls and it was strange to me to hear that girls are being dissuaded from STEM because of their gender. In my family it was quite the opposite — STEM was the main academic route until it was clear that my mind was more suited for social sciences and arts courses. Into my University years, I started researching and writing about women’s issues and rights; but it wasn’t until I took a gender course last year that I finally realized I wanted to be especially involved in women's and girls’ rights. My goal is to use my writing to educate about women's and girls’ rights, and I hope you will come on this journey with me.
So what can you do right now to honor the Day of the Girl?
1) If you already support an organization that helps young girls and women, highlight their work on your social media.
2) Pick an inspiring young girl to learn more about with any young woman in your life to further the discussion. We have our favorites at GirlBlazer.org if you don’t know where to start.
3) Ask a young woman in your life if there is a cause she wants to support or an issue she wants to address, and brainstorm ways she can get involved in advocacy and support her journey,
4) Have a movie night and pick out a movie about an inspiring woman (real or fictional) to watch with the whole family.
5) And lastly, if you don’t yet support an organization, look close to home. Chances are you can volunteer in your local community.
Toni Morrison said, “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” I am very excited about the opportunity to support GirlBlazer’s mission to create books for young girls to empower and inspire them with diverse stories of their peers.