Maryland youth recognized for campaign for United Nations International Day of the Girl

For Immediate Release  |  Contact:  Wendy Lesko  |  301.785.1702  |

On October 11, there will be an explosion of celebrations for the first International Day of the Girl Child in Washington, Baltimore, New York City and hundreds of other cities around the world. Last December, the U.S. co-sponsored the United Nations General Assembly resolution that declares October 11 as the annual girls’ rights day.


School Girls Unite, a youth-led advocacy group located in Washington, D.C., will be recognized for single-handedly leading a yearlong national campaign for this International Day. Girls ranging from ages of 12 to 20 ran petition drives, sought endorsements, and met with government officials at the White House and U.S. State Department to galvanize grassroots support.

Joanne Conelley, who helped launch School Girls Unite as a seventh grader in 2004 and now serves as co-founder of the Day of the Girl campaign while a student at American University, says “We have dreams to achieve, and we’re tired of having society standing in our way. This historic Day of the Girl is a powerful way to get acquainted with local government and politics, and empower girls to make their voices heard.”

The Maryland Women’s Heritage Center will recognize the global impact of School Girls Unite on October 13. At this celebration in Baltimore, House Delegate Elizabeth Bobo will present the Maryland Day of the Girl Proclamation, written by School Girls Unite and signed by Governor O’Malley, that focuses on increasing the graduation rate among girls and girls participation in STEM. School Girls Unite students have written 10 action-oriented reports on local and global gender equality issues along with a 10.11.12 Toolkit that has led girls in nearly 100 cities to pursue proclamations. These resources and a proclamation list are available at

The D.C. City Council proclamation focuses on the exploitation and sexual trafficking of girls In the nation’s capital. FAIR Girls together with its community partners Covenant House, Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Washington Area Women’s Foundation and DC Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation, will hold the official International Day of the Girl proclamation ceremony and reception, hosted by NYU in Washington.

In addition to high-level meetings at the U.N., hundreds of Day of the Girl events are being organized from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. These celebrations as well as events in dozens of countries are posted at which is hosting a 10.11.12 Virtual Summit.

The idea of an International Day of the Girl has not been without detractors, some of whom suggested International Women’s Day is sufficient.  But School Girls Unite persisted in its efforts to raise awareness that gender stereotypes, discrimination, violence, and economic disparities disproportionately affect girls worldwide—while also highlighting the positive role girls can play in their communities

For additional information about this youth-driven national campaign, including the feisty blog responding to criticism that our Day of the Girl logo is too aggressive, please visit and

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