October 11th signifies the Day of the Girl

October 11 declared the Day of the Girl!

We did it! After a successful campaign led by Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl initiative and thanks to your help, the United Nations has declared an International Day of the Girl Child! This day will create a foundation to advocate and recognize girls’ rights globally.

Plan Canada taking the lead

As part of the Because I am a Girl initiative, Plan Canada led the call for a Day of the Girl. But we didn’t make this day happen on our own.

The Day of the Girl happened thanks to help from supporters around the world and here at home. Tens of thousands of you signed petitions, wrote letters to your Members of Parliament, and talked to your family and friends about the importance of creating a Day of the Girl.

We also had strong support from the Canadian government, particularly Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose. After meeting with 12 Plan girl delegates from around the world, Minister Ambrose played a key role in having Canada lead the call for the Day of the Girl at the United Nations.

Why we need a Day of the Girl

Girls face double discrimination because of their age and gender. In many parts of the world they face unique challenges, like:

  • Barriers to education and opportunities to make a living
  • Early and forced marriage
  • Poverty

These challenges require specific and urgent attention. By making progress in these areas, girls will have the tools to create a better life for themselves and lift entire nations out of poverty. Here’s why:

  • For every extra year a girl stays in school, her income can increase by 15 to 25%
  • A woman who is educated will marry later and have fewer, healthier children
  • Women invest more of their income in their families than men do

How can a single ‘Day’ change all this?

Commemorative days provide an important opportunity to shine a light on specific issues, and have communities around the world join together for global action. They are also a good time to ask governments (and individuals!) to make changes that will improve people’s lives.

The Day of the Girl will do all of those things. It gives us a powerful way to highlight the particular needs and rights of girls, and to advocate for greater action and investment to enable girls to reach their full potential.

As Girl Speakers Bureau member Saba told a room of Diplomats at the United Nations: “All women were once girls, but not all girls will become women.”

That’s why we began petitioning for a Day of the Girl.

What next?

Having a Day of the Girl gives us a real opportunity to get international attention and action on issues that affect girls.

One real way to make a difference for girls is to ensure their right to education. For that reason, we plan to continue our commitment to equal access to education, including the successful transition of girls from primary to secondary school. This will require more collaboration with international governments, but we are determined!

We are now one huge step closer to equal rights for millions of girls in the poorest parts of the world.

How you can help

The campaign for the Day of the Girl proves it: Canadians -- girls and women, men and boys -- can make a difference for girls and women around the world. And it’s important to keep supporting and standing up for girls’ rights. Here are some of the ways you can support girls:


Girls raising their hands celebrating International Day of the Girl
The first-ever Day of the Girl!

See how the world celebrated the first ever International Day of the Girl on October 11, 2012!

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The story in pictures

This infographic tells the story of how we got the Day of the Girl, from launch to success!

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Day of the Girl quiz

Test your knowledge! How much do you know about the Day of the Girl? Take our quiz and see how well you score.