The United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2011 voted to designate 11 October as the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ (see UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/66/170 on International Day of the Girl Child). The day promotes girls’ human rights, highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and addresses the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the globe.
For the inaugural day, UN agencies have come together to focus on child marriage, which is a fundamental human rights violation and impacts all aspects of a girl’s life. Globally, more than one in three young women aged 20-24 years were married before they reached age 18. One third of them entered into marriage before they turned 15.
Preventing child marriage will protect girls’ rights and help reduce their risks of violence, early pregnancy, HIV infection, and maternal death and disability.