In early 2011, members of School Girls Unite, an organization of students and young female leaders advocating for the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, specifically gender equality, universal basic education, child marriage prevention, and other human rights issues, were sitting at a meeting, and someone brought up that countries around the world were beginning to organize to have an internationally recognized Day of the Girl. They began to search through the internet to see if anyone in the United States had begun organizing around this, but came up short. After discussing the idea, the young activists decided that our country was in need of a national day of action focused on girls' rights and began to organize.
In December 2011, the United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. Its mission is “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.” You can read the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the International Day of the Girl Child for yourselves!
We continued organizing as the United States portion of this global movement. We began the Proclamation Project, where we had girls across the country prepare Day of the Girl proclamations and lobby their local government officials to pass them. Hundreds of counties across the country issued declarations after young activists utilized our Proclamation Project toolkit to aid them in their advocacy. In addition to encouraging girls across the country to proclaim the Day of the Girl in their communities, we worked hard to meet with members of the White House Coalition on Women and Girls and the U.S. State Department. It was this level of pressure that led to U.S. President Barack Obama proclaiming Day of the Girl in 2013 - a huge accomplishment that is credited to every young activist who took part in the Proclamation Project.
Since then, our 100% youth-led Action Team of girls and young women from all across the country have been organizing all year to make Day of the Girl a massive day of action.
Each year we organize differently around the Day. In 2014, we led the Rally Project, which was an effort to raise young female voices, create a new generation of activists and promote action for gender equality. After surpassing our goal in our Indiegogo campaign to pay for this project, we were able to fund six highly successful rallies across the country. These rallies were led by youth who brought together local organizations in order to create action. The rallies were an interactive experience that will included dance, music, and poetry elements in addition to speakers.
In 2015, we released our #StartTheConvo toolkit, whose mission was to serve as a guide for healthy and productive conversations about gender justice issues.
We are grateful to Plan International and other organizations in nearly 100 countries that mobilized support for the UN Resolution. In America, we appreciate thousands of supporters who signed our petition and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.