International Day of the Girl Child 2017: A Collection of Thoughts on Girl Child Empowerment

International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated every year on October 11. The Day of the Girl Child was first celebrated by the United Nations October 11, 2012. It is a day to celebrate the potential of every young woman to be a powerful voice in her community.


The observance advocates greater opportunities for the girl child and increases greater awareness of gender inequality/marginalization experienced by young women in light of their sexual category. This disparity spans across such areas including the rights to education, nutrition, medical care, legal rights, violence against women, child marriage, etc.


This year’s theme is "EmPOWER girls: Before, during and after conflict"


As we celebrate 2017 Day of the Girl Child, here is a collection of thoughts on the need to empower the girl child, particularly in terms of education.


  • The fulfillment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is also overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.—UNICEF 


  • I think eradication of any form of girl child discrimination is a subject which concerns the whole society. The proper perspective about girl’s rights has to penetrate all areas of society and for that matter we have to build alliances with key sectors.—Nicole Bidegain Ponte


  • Educating girls helps to make communities and societies healthier, wealthier and safer, and can also help to reduce child deaths, improve maternal health and tackle the spread of HIV and AIDS.—Department for International Development


  • Education for girl child has a long term economic implications for the nation. It is important to understand that increasing the number of girls in school, and thereby increasing the number of literate adult women has a positive effect on both economic growth and social well-being.—Devapriya Vadhera


  • Girl’s education is key and must be a priority. Educating one girl is an investment in a family. War, extreme poverty, the AIDS pandemic and other deprivations endanger girls. They may be raped, forced to work in dangerous environments, sold or trafficked. Many girls are forced to stay home and take care of children, the sick and the elderly. Girls are vulnerable when faced with lack of economic opportunities. The more girls that are empowered the more communities will be reached through them. This is not just about the girl child but also about society. An educated mother will have the potential of breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and illiteracy and ignorance.— Musimbi Kanyoro


  • If we are to see any real development in the world, then our best investment is women.—Desmond Tutu


  • Higher education continues to play a vital role, which is likely to increase further, in the new knowledge-based and globalizing economy. Thus, beyond the question of the fundamental right to education of all levels, acquiring knowledge to navigate the complexities of this world is a necessity for everyone especially the groups that have been hitherto marginalized.—N'Dri Assié-Lumumba


  • Often parents think of their girls as a liability instead of an asset. If girls were getting the same chance to enroll in school, the world would probably look different ” – Clarabell,17, Zambia


  • Everyone wins when children — and especially girls – have access to education. An educated girl is likely to increase her personal earning potential and prepare herself for a productive and fulfilling life, as well as reduce poverty in the whole community. Investing in girls’ education also helps delay early marriage and parenthood. Our booming economies in Africa need more female engineers, teachers and doctors to prosper and sustain growth. – Angelique Kidjo.


  • Educating girls and women is critical to economic development. Research conducted in a variety of countries and regions has established that educating girls is one of the most cost-effective ways of spurring development. Female education creates powerful poverty-reducing synergies and yields enormous intergenerational gains. It is positively correlated with increased economic productivity, more robust labor markets, higher earnings, and improved societal health and well-being.— Joy Phumaphi and Danny Leipziger.


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