Since 2012, 11 October has been observed as the International Day of the Girl following a United Nations General Assembly resolution. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights. The EU is active in Brussels and around the world to mark the day and promote our ongoing investment in equal rights and opportunities.
One initiative is the EU's support of Plan International's #GirlsTakeover, a global action which sees 1000 girls and young women step into positions of power in over 60 countries. The European Week of Action for Girls, 9-13 October, involves several participants in the Takeover in Brussels, amongst whom First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, symbolically handing over his job for the afternoon to Ritah Nakaayi, a 23-year old lady from Uganda. Nakaaayi gives a speech which Timmermans was due to deliver at the Gender Equality Index Conference.
EU High Representative Federica Mogherini has also spoken out on the importance of investing in girls in an interview for the Girl's Rights Gazette.
In the interview Mogherini describes how the European Union has put the empowerment of girls and women at the core of our foreign policy." And our work is paying off." She says. "In 10 years, 300,000 female students enrolled in secondary education thanks to programmes funded by the European Commission. Our global network of EU Delegations is working with national governments to help them craft specific programmes to promote gender equality in all countries. "
"We know our action can make a real difference", she continues. "So over the last months and years, we have stepped up our commitment to women empowerment, with the Global Strategy for foreign and security policy, the new European Consensus on Development, and the appointment – for the first time, inside the European External Action Service – of a Principal Advisor on Gender and on the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security."
Mogherini adds that on her own initiative the EU has also signed the 2016 Joint Statement with UN Women, envisioning mutual development and strengthened collaboration on gender equality and women empowerment worldwide to reach a Planet 50-50 by 2030.
She also mentions the “Spotlight Initiative” which the EU launched together with the United Nations in September, in New York, which focuses on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls in partner countries from five regions.
Mogherini assures that "no doubt that we, in the European Union, will continue to work to create new and better opportunities for girls, to make sure that there is no contradiction between being a mother and an accomplished professional, to open new channels for women to engage in their country’s public life."
"You can count on the European Union to be your partner and your sponsor, until each and every girl will have gotten the opportunities she deserves," Mogherini concludes.