International Day of the Girl Child

October 11, 2017

Global

Sheshkala Pandey (right) is an advocate against harmful practices such as child marriage in her village in Kapilvastu district. The girls' group the 19-year-old leads is supported by the government's Women and Children Office and UNFPA. © UNFPA Nepal/SC

In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution adopting 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child, recognizing girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. This year, the theme of the day is EmPOWER Girls: Before, during and after crises.

UNFPA works to protect the health and rights of adolescent girls through comprehensive sexuality education; access to sexual and reproductive health counselling, information and services; and through encouraging girls' empowerment and participation in decisions affecting them. UNFPA also works with boys and men to advance gender equality, and to encourage the abandonment of harmful stereotypes, the embrace respectful, healthy relationships, and support for human rights of all people, everywhere.

In Nepal, 41% of girls are married before the age of 18. This calls for investments in girls, ensuring their access to education and health services, developing their social and economic assets and making certain that they can postpone their marriage until they are ready. The National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage, endorsed by the Government of Nepal, has set the legal age of marriage at 20 to discourage early marriages. UNFPA Nepal is working to empower adolescent girls by strengthening national legal and policy frameworks, building their capacity to resist early marriage and stay in school, improving adolescent-friendly sexual and reproductive health and mobilizing communities.