NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)–The United Nations’ third annual International Day of the Girl Child on Oct. 11 celebrates girls’ role in “ending the cycle of violence.”
For Suzanne Petroni, a serious form of violence among this age group is self-inflicted and fatal. Suicide has replaced childbirth as the leading cause of death of 15-19 year old females worldwide, according Petroni’s research published by the International Center for Research on Women.
While more research is needed about the causes, Petroni, senior director at the center, hypothesizes that access to technology plays a role. As girls stay in school longer and they see women as doctors, train engineers and professors, “they become better skilled and more knowledgeable, but they can’t achieve the dreams they might have for themselves because their local society sees them as a wife and mother first and foremost,” Petroni told Teen Voices.
Some of the wording the U.N. is using to promote the day is causing red flags for Youth Feminist Wire. In a piece published on its website, Ghadeer Malek and Nelly Bassily say they find language like “investment in” and “empowerment of” women and girls lacking “a human rights analysis, gender justice approach and most importantly an economic justice framework.” Instead of identifying girls as “the next population segment where capitalism can find new profit margins” the writers ask, “What if we challenged the barriers that prevent girls and women from making choices about their sexuality and their bodies?”
These questions and more will be bubbling up in events across the country by organizations leveraging the attention the U.N. is bringing to the 17 percent of the global population that is female and under 19 years old with events, rallies and product launches.
As part of the third annual event, the Afghan Women’s Writing Project published a series of five articles from its writers. For an essay that will be part of the U.N.’s Girls Speak Out, a multimedia performance event in New York City, Shahida, 14, wrote on the theme of freedom and its repercussions: “My cousins, uncles and aunts don’t like me studying or playing with boys.” In her essay Nahida, 15, wrote: “In Afghanistan, a good girl doesn’t have her own name but is called by her brother’s or father’s name.” The Speak Out event is co-sponsored by SPARK Movement, which is a partner, along with the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, of Teen Voices.
For a year-round celebration of girl-specific content, GlobalGirl Media, a Teen Voices partner, teamed up with TV4 Entertainment to launch a broadband television network that will launch today, Oct. 10. The channel — available on www.GGMN.tv, Hulu and YouTube — will feature content by, for and about girls and young women aged 13-24.
Here’s a sampling of other events across the country, mostly free and open to the public, to help all girls survive and thrive:
Friday Oct. 10
School Girls Unite screens “Raising Ms. President”
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, 6-8 p.m.
El Paso, Texas
Latinitas-Day of the Girl-US
Cafe Mayapan, 4:30-7 p.m.
New York City
Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence panel
Labouisse Hall, UNICEF House, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Showcase of good practices
Danny Kaye Visitors Centre, UNICEF House, 12:30-2:30 p.m.
Girls Speak Out
ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, 3-5 p.m.
Girls Write Now
#RighttoWrite roundtable event and “Ode to Malala” music video debut
Tishman Speyer, 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Saturday Oct. 11
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
The Georgia Power Auditorium, 8 a.m. – noon
Day of the Girl-US
Copley Square, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Zelophehad’s Daughters, Inc.-Day of the Girl-US
Allen Pond Park, 9:30 a.m.
The Foundry-Day of the Girl-US
398 Northampton Street, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
“Girl Rising” screening, with a reception/dinner
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 5 p.m.
Global Equality Now walk/rally
Lake Elkhorn, 3-5 p.m.
El Paso, Texas
Latinitas- Day of the Girl-US
Cafe Mayapan, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Girl Up, UNF, Caterpillar, Dove, UCLA and Burkle Global Impact Initiative
UCLA – Carnasale Commons, 7- 9 p.m.
New York City
Girls for Gender Equity and African American Policy Forum
Breaking Silence: A Town Hall Hearing on Girls of Color
Columbia Law School, Noon- 4:00 p.m.
The Girls Coalition of Southwestern PA
Day of the Girl Celebration
East End Cooperative Ministries Community House, 10-12:30 p.m.
Dare to Dream Young Girls, Inc.-Day of the Girl-US
The Dream Cottage, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.