Building peace in the minds of men and women

International Day of the Girl Child

11 October

On December 19, 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 declaring 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, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, political leaders and mothers. 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.

Gender equality is a global priority for UNESCO, and the support of young girls, their training and their full ability to make their voices and ideas heard are drivers for sustainable development and peace. In too many cases accross the globe, teenage girls drop out of school, due to forced marriages or child labor. UNESCO is committed to celebrating this day to ensure that all girls have access to quality education and a dignified life.


"The figures speak for themselves and unfortunately, they are worrying: 132 million girls are still out of school and 9 million of them – compared to 3 million boys – will never even enter a classroom. In the poorest countries, only 13% of girls who manage to enrol in secondary school complete their education. Inequalities between gender and States, two mutually reinforcing inequalities, persist. If we are not careful, these inequalities will worsen tomorrow, particularly as a result of the digital revolution that we cannot allow to leave girls out in the cold."

—  Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child

Download the complete message in PDF format
English Français Español Русский العربية 中文