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Day of the Girl: Time to prioritise girls' education
Today marks the first ever International Day of the Girl. It’s a day we at Plan International campaigned for and it’s the day we are using to launch our Because I am a Girl campaign.
But why do we need another international observance, you may ask? We have international days for practically everything and everyone. Why girls? Well, the answer is simple: girls’ rights, education in particular, aren’t given the attention they deserve. Did you know that around the world, a third of girls are denied a secondary education? This is a tragedy when you consider that an extra year of secondary schooling will increase a girl’s income by up to 25%.
Supporting girls in developing countries is a surefire way to help bring about an end to poverty. It empowers girls and those around them and all of society benefits. When girls in poor countries are denied an education, they miss out on so many opportunities and more often than not they find themselves either married, pregnant, working or all three. One in three girls in the developing world will be married before 18 years old, despite the fact that such marriages are usually illegal.
These are the issues we are hoping to bring to the world’s attention on the International Day of the Girl. To help raise awareness leading into today, we’ve been getting hundreds of thousands of people around Asia and the rest of the world to Raise Their Hands and show that they, like us, believe that girls deserve an education and that it’s about time governments, UN agencies and development organisations took note of this.