By Stacey Thompson
Thursday was the very first International Day of the Girl – a global day of action and awareness about the rights girls deserve and the many challenges they face.
Kristy Payne, director of strategic communications at Plan Canada, an international agency working to end global poverty, told Humber News the commemoration a step in the right direction.
“It is definitely a start, I think we are moving in the right direction. It is a day to shed light on the issue,” said Payne.
“Girls face double discrimination in that they are both female and young. I think to have a day to for the world to stop and consider the potential of girls and the barriers they face is important,” she said.
Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year-old Pakistani girl who had been a champion of girls’ rights, made headlines around the world this week after she was shot in the head on her way home from school.
Yousafzai was reportedly targeted for her activism against the Taliban’s ban on education for girls.
Ryan Coulter, a philanthropic fundraiser in Toronto for women’s rights, said the International Day of the Girl will help young women like Yousufzai.
“This is a sad and altogether too common situation all around the world. I do believe that the work being done through things like International Day of the Girl will have a positive impact globally,” he said.
According to Status of Women Canada , this international day is going to help in promoting equality and opportunities for girls around the world
“The message of this day is simple: girls’ rights are human rights; the sooner in life girls know their rights, the greater chance they will be able to exercise them and to become leaders in Canada and around the world,” Rona Ambrose, minster for status of women sent in an email to Humber News on Thursday.
The CN Tower in Toronto, Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Niagara Falls, are just a few of the many landmarks in Canada that will be lit up Thursday night in pink lights to celebrate of the day.
“Not only does this send a strong message of peer solidarity to girls all around the world,” said Coulter.
“It gives call to all people worldwide to engage in and understand what the current state of girls’ rights is globally.”