Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, has called on all South Africans to recognise and observe the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl (IDG).
The United Nations General Assembly established the International Day of the Girl Child in December 2011, through Resolution 66/170.
The day aims to promote girl’s empowerment and fulfilment of their human rights while also highlighting the challenges facing the girls all over the world.
The first International Day of the Girl Child was observed on 11 October 2012.
Prior to this, there had been other initiatives to celebrate and advocate for girls, such as the International Day of Girls in 2002, which was initiated by Plan International.
Since its inception, the International Day of the Girl Child has served as a platform to amplify the voices of girls around the world and bring attention to the unique issues they face.
Each year, a different theme is chosen to focus on a specific issue affecting girls.
The 2022 International Day of the Girl is celebrated under the theme “Our time is now—our rights, our future”.
Nkoana-Mashabane said IDG presents an opportunity for government to reflect if they are on the right path in addressing and dealing with issues that girls face every day.
“Investments in girls’ rights remain limited and girls continue to confront a myriad of challenges to fulfilling their potential; made worse by concurrent crises of climate change, COVID-19 and humanitarian conflict,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.
She also noted that girls around the world continue to face unprecedented challenges to their education, their physical and mental wellness, and the protections needed for a life without violence.
“Girls with disabilities face additional barriers to accessing support and services. COVID-19 has worsened existing burdens on girls around the world and worn away important gains made over the last decade,” the Minister said.
In addressing girls’ issues, the Minister said government is ensuring that they will not be under represented in boardrooms and in the corridors of power in the future.
“Girls must be empowered in every area of their lives from education to healthcare and security. Economic empowerment of women requires fundamental social transformation, in which every sector and every citizen must be involved including young women and girls,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.