About the event
Research has shown that simply being born a girl can leave a child at a huge disadvantage in life.
In the poorest societies girls face greater risk of malnutrition and hunger as well as fewer education and career opportunities. In many developing countries 1 out of 7 girls marries before the age of 15. It is in order to highlight these issues that the UN General Assembly voted to declare 11 October every year International Day of the Girl Child (also known as Day of Girls). This is a day to call for the full support of girls that ensures they are given every opportunity their male counterparts are given.
How to approach it
This day is a good opportunity to introduce the concept of gender inequalities and women’s rights. To do this it may be helpful to start with instances of inequality either in the past or in other countries. This helps students to initially approach the topic with relative objectivity that they can then apply to their own local and national contexts. One example to begin with might include countries which do not offer education opportunities for girls. You could show how this was once the case in Britain as it is currently in countries today such as Afghanistan. The story of Malala- the school-girl activist shot by the Taliban for demanding girls education - is a great introduction to this topic. Encourage students to think about how experiencing these kinds of inequalities might feel.
Next, bring this discussion closer to home. Ask: in what ways are girls treated differently to boys? Ensure that the girls in the class get their chance to contribute. Examples may include being discouraged to do certain subjects such as engineering, harassment, patronisation, or minimal encouragement to engage in sports such as football. After this, engage students in a discussion about what should be done. Ask: how can we create an environment where we eliminate these inequalities? What can we do as individuals, as communities and as part of institutions?
Girls often don’t get the same kind of support and opportunities that boys do. This is true in Britain and in many parts of the world. Today is a day for everyone to understand the difficulties that girls may face when growing up and what we can do to eliminate them. Think about this today: How can we recognise when different people are treated unfairly or unequally?