Today, our world gets a little bit pinker. And not just because it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month ... Today, 10-11-12, also marks the world's first United Nations International Day of the Girl. And the timing of the event couldn't be more poignant, given the fact that Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for demanding that she and other girls go to school (and for wearing a pink dress to school), is currently fighting for her life.
Today marks a valuable opportunity for us to show we've got Malala's back. It's a chance to stand up and show our support for UN's mission stated in their United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the International Day of the Girl Child: "To help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential."
More specifically, here's why we need the Day of the Girl ...
- Illiteracy - By 2015, females will make up 64 percent of the world’s (adult) population who cannot read.
- School Dropout - In America, the dropout rate is worse for boys, but one in four girls does not finish high school, and the dropout rate is even higher for minorities.
- Force Marriage - One in seven girls in developing countries is married off before she's 15 years old!
- Violence - In the U.S., more than half of all rapes of women happen before they're 18. And one in five high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner. Worldwide, children as young as age 11 are forced to work as prostitutes. Some estimates have as many as 1.2 million children being trafficked every year.
- Body Image - More than half of third to fifth grade girls worry about their appearance and 37 percent worry about their weight.
So what can we do to address these heartbreaking realities and celebrate/pull for our daughters at the same time?
First off, there are a slew of events happening all over the globe, or you can participate in the Day of the Girl Virtual Summit online. You can also spread the word this year by downloading and using any of these avatars on your web page or Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr page and liking the "Day of the Girl" Facebook page.
And last but definitely not least, organizers are encouraging people everywhere to download their Proclamation Project Tool Kit to make sure communities all over the globe proclaim this October 11 and every October 11 forward The Day of the Girl.
Ultimately, no matter how you want to acknowledge the day or get involved, the International Day of the Girl is bound to be a special, important, crucial reminder of how far we've come when it comes to gender politics and how far we still need to go -- in America and around the globe.
And check out this video for more info on Malala's brave fight and tragic shooting ...
Do you plan to get involved?
Image via Reuters/5minVideo