By Yashi Jain
International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day to support gender equality declared by the United Nations. It was first observed on October 11, 2012.
This day brings people together to stand in support for more opportunities for girls and spread awareness about the gender inequalities faced by girls across the world. It also aims at celebrating the effort and monumental success women have achieved across various fields.
Sowing the seeds of equality
This day began as a project of Plan International, a non-governmental organisation that operates worldwide. The inspiration behind the idea of the day was the organization’s “Because I am a Girl” campaign, which raises awareness of the importance of nurturing girls globally, with a special focus on developing countries.
The day was formally proposed as a resolution by Canada in the United Nations General Assembly. Each year the day supports a theme, the first one being “ending child marriage”.
The theme for 2017 is: “EmPOWER Girls: Before, during and after crises”. Various events are planned each year to promote the day in several countries.
Plan India and its initiatives
Plan India lit up key monuments like the Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb and Old Fort in Delhi and Char Minar in Hyderabad in the pink colour to commemorate this day in 2012.
Through the illumination Plan India intended to sensitize the masses towards the ever-growing cause of girls aiming to bring the people of India to support the cause and the idea behind it. A campaign was organised in Mumbai to raise awareness about the education, skill building and protection of the girl child.
This year, Plan India aimed to empower girls by placing them in positions of authority for one full day. 21 young girls from the Plan India community took over 10 delegations and embassies in the capital, and stepped into the roles of Ambassadors and High Commissioners from the Delegation of the European Union to India, Embassies of Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Slovenia, France, USA and High Commission of South Africa and New Zealand.
Leaders of the future
Following the takeovers, an experience sharing session was organised in the capital.
Reeya Prajapati, who wants to be a fashion designer but is also training for government examinations was one of the twenty-one girls who took over the positions of power. The 19-year-old believes that a major hindrance to the development of girls is that they are not allowed to make their own decisions.
The experience of taking over the role of High Commissioner of South Africa to India taught gave her a chance to put forth the problems girls like her face. Heena, on the other hand, took the opportunity to talk about gender discrimination and early marriage of girls.
Together, we can
The role of international organisations like the United Nations as well as the government are essential, but they are not enough. We need every citizen of the country to take small steps in their own lives, to stop discriminating in their household or workplace.
As educated and well-informed citizens, each one of us must be a part of this celebration to appreciate the achievements and efforts of young girls.