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Being a girl — International Day of the Girl Child

Girls play a clapping game during a weekly education session about breast ironing and rape by survivor of breast ironing Julie Ndjessa at Ndjessa's family home in Douala, Cameroon on November 3, 2013. New government research shows that 'breast ironing,' where the breasts of young girls are flattened using a hot stone, has seen a 50 percent decline since it was first accidentally uncovered during a 2005 survey by the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ) on rape and incest in Cameroon. (REUTERS/Joe Penney)

Being a girl – International Day of the Girl Child

The United Nations marks Oct. 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to promote girls’ human rights and to highlight gender inequalities between girls and boys.

In 2011, a United Nations resolution established Oct. 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC), a day designated for promoting the rights of girls and addressing the unique challenges they face. The inaugural day in 2012 focused on the issue of ending child marriage; in 2013, the theme was “Innovating for Girls’ Education”; and in 2014, the theme was “Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence.”

As the lead agency for the day, UNICEF, in consultation with other United Nations agencies and civil society partners, selected as this year’s theme, “The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.”

This year, as the international community assesses progress under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) since their implementation in 2000 and launches the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for implementation by 2030, girls born at the turn of the millennium have reached adolescence, and the generation of girls born this year will be adolescents in 2030.

As we reflect on the achievements of the past 15 years and plan SDGs for the next 15, it is an opportune time to consider the importance of social, economic, and political investment in the power of adolescent girls as fundamental to breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination, and to achieving equitable and sustainable development outcomes.

Here’s a look at being a girl in different parts of the world.