In 2012, the United Nations declared October 11 as International Day of the Girl. A global day of recognition, to celebrate the achievements and potential of girls.
The purpose of the day of celebration is twofold; to create awareness of the basic needs and challenges girls face, whilst promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
We are fortunate to live in a country where women and girls are not denied basic human rights however, this is not the case in other parts of the world with issues such as education, equality, child marriage, prostitution, access to services regarding puberty, sexual heath, as well as various other issues around gender-based violence.
In Victoria, we recognise and celebrate our opportunity to be able to ‘choose’ sport and Dr Bridie O’Donnell, Head Office for Women in Sport and Recreation spoke on what that choice means for girls,
“We are living in a country where our basic human rights are protected and when we reflect on what life is like for women and girls who do not have basic human rights in Australia, we can appreciate how lucky and privileged we are.”
All over the world there are marches and special events to mark the occasion. In Melbourne, the Girls in Sport Breakfast will be held and over 400 representatives from the Victorian sport and recreation industry will be in attendance. The annual breakfast, hosted by Gymnastics Victoria and supported by a number of other state sporting bodies and the State Government, is a celebration of outstanding achievements by women and girls and an opportunity for us to reflect upon how we can create more opportunities and break down any barriers for girls to participate.
Following on from the Breakfast, the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation will be hosting the Change Our Game Girls in Sport Summit over the weekend. The Summit will bring together 100 girls aged between 13-15 from across the state to discuss and share their ideas on what they feel the future of Sport and Recreation in Victoria should look like and how we can get there.
We want to give our ‘decision makers of tomorrow’ an opportunity to tell us how we can ensure we are providing a level playing field for women and girls. Let’s make sure we take some time on International Day of the Girl to reflect on some of the struggles girls face all over the world and to push for change.
Let’s celebrate the wonderful role girls play in our families, our schools, our communities and our sporting clubs and let’s make sure we continue to create opportunities for girls to be able to fulfil their dreams.
In the wise words of Beyoncé “Who runs the world…GIRLS”