Focusing on Girl Power
International Day of the Girl was created with the aim of having a day dedicated to acknowledging gender inequality around the world and highlighting the unique challenges faced by females so that action can be taken to improve the imbalance. Celebrated every year on the 11th of October, the day serves as an inspiration to women and girls everywhere to take control of their own futures and break all boundaries preventing them from thriving.
Every year, around 12 million girls younger than 18 are married, and approximately 15 million girls aged 15 to 19 have been forced into having sex against their will. As many as 130 million girls are not attending school. These statistics are staggering and it is no wonder that girls and women around the world have had enough.
The Beginning of an Unstoppable Force
Nearly 25 years ago, around 30,000 women and men from close to 200 different countries made their way to Beijing to attend the Fourth World Conference on Women. These individuals were determined to acknowledge the rights of females as being basic human rights. As the conference drew to a close, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted. This turned out to be a comprehensive policy agenda with female empowerment as the ultimate goal.
In the years to follow, women across the globe continued to advocate for this agenda. This led to international movements on a wide range of challenges faced by females everywhere, including inequality in the workplace as well as a lack of reproductive health and sexual rights. Movements like these have now spread everywhere, and issues like inequality in education, gender-based violence, child marriage, and so much more are now being tackled. The theme of this year’s International Day of the Girl was “GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable” and one of its campaigns was #WatchHerShine.
As part of the International Day of the Girl celebrations, Malala Fund launched the #WatchHerShine campaign. Malala Fund is a non-profit organization that was launched by Malala, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and female rights activist who was shot for speaking about her beliefs.
The goal behind the campaign was to bring inspirational female YouTube moviemakers from across the globe together to encourage audiences to learn more about the challenges faced by girls and women and to raise awareness of these issues. The subscription target was 15.5 million subscribers and the fundraising goal was $50,000 from donations through the Donate button on the YouTube channel. The #WatchHerShine campaign ran until the 21st of October and by the 11th, the campaign had already received more than $25,000 in donations.
Since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted, campaigns like this have helped women and girls to break barriers imposed by exclusion and typecasting, and not only when it comes to gender bias. So many achievements have been made on behalf of disabled children and people living in marginalized communities. Girls are becoming innovators and entrepreneurs and are initiating international movements that are paving the way for a better future world.