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Why Day of the Girl?

Why we need a Day of the Girl

Girls face double discrimination because of their age and gender. In many parts of the world they face unique challenges, like:

  • Barriers to education and opportunities to make a living
  • Early and forced marriage
  • Poverty

These challenges require specific and urgent attention. By making progress in these areas, girls will have the tools to create a better life for themselves and to help lift entire nations out of poverty. Here’s why:

  • For every extra year a girl stays in school, her income can increase by 15 to 25%
  • A woman who is educated will marry later and have fewer, healthier children
  • Women invest more of their income in their families than men do

How can a single ‘Day’ change all this?

Commemorative days provide an important opportunity to shine a light on specific issues, and have communities around the world join together for global action. They’re also a good time to ask governments (and individuals!) to make changes that will improve people’s lives.

Day of the Girl gives us a powerful way to highlight the particular needs and rights of girls, and to advocate for greater action and investment to enable girls to reach their full potential.

As Girl Speakers Bureau member Saba told a room of Diplomats at the UN: “All women were once girls, but not all girls will become women.”

That’s why we began petitioning for a Day of the Girl.

The campaign for the Day of the Girl proves it: Canadians -- girls and women, men and boys -- can make a difference for girls and women around the world. And it’s important to keep supporting and standing up for girls’ rights. Here are some of the ways you can support girls:

History of Day of the Girl

October 11 declared the Day of the Girl!

After a successful campaign led by Plan International Canada and thanks to your help, the United Nations has declared an International Day of the Girl Child, to be celebrated annually on October 11!

Plan International Canada taking the lead

As part of the Because I am a Girl initiative, Plan Canada led the call for a Day of the Girl. But we didn’t make this day happen on our own.

The Day of the Girl happened thanks to help from supporters around the world and here at home. Tens of thousands of you signed petitions, wrote letters to your Members of Parliament, and talked to your family and friends about the importance of creating a Day of the Girl.

We also had strong support from the Canadian government, particularly former Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose. After meeting with 12 of Plan International’s girl delegates from around the world, Minister Ambrose played a key role in having Canada lead the call for the Day of the Girl at the UN.

Check out this visual timeline of how we got the Day of the Girl!

Day of the Girl timeline

  Download the Day of the Girl timeline (PDF)

Two women and a man standing in front of an image made out of post-it notes.

Past Celebrations

View highlights from past Day of the Girls celebrations, including those of the first ever Day of the Girl in 2012.

View Day of the Girl highlights