Celebrate International Day of the Girl

When I found out during week 20 of my second pregnancy that I was having a girl, I was over the moon. I remember repeating over and over to myself, “I’m going to have a daughter.” And during the first four years of my daughter’s life, I often found myself repeating, still amazed, “I have a daughter.”

As I write this, she sits on the floor dipping a corndog in ketchup while dressed to the nines in her Little Mermaid garb–including the red wig. I look at her and revel in awe. She realizes I’m staring and says, “I love you, King Triton.” My heart swells and I reply, “I love you more, Ariel.”

Like you all, I too have many dreams for my daughter. She’s just 4 but already I dream about the life-long possibilities in front of her. I dream of the day we celebrate her college graduation. I envision her in many roles as an educated adult. Renowned concert pianist. Accomplished brain surgeon. Prima ballerina assoluta. Brilliant teacher. CEO. Philanthropist. Successful entrepreneur. Loving mother. Leader of the free world.

When my daughter asks me what she will be when she grows up, I can confidently tell her the sky is the limit and there will be no glass ceilings to break.

I’m thankful for the opportunities my daughter has waiting for her as she grows and learns. And I’m thankful for International Day of the Girl.

What Is International Day of the Girl?

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in 2011 to establish October 11 as International Day of the Girl Child. The purpose is worldwide recognition of girls’ rights and the challenges girls face globally. This year’s focus is ending child marriage.

The FactsInternational Day of the Girl

  • Every year, 10 million girls in developing countries are forced or coerced into marriage.
  • Every 3 seconds, another girl is forced or coerced to marry.
  • 1 in 7 is married before they reach the age of 15.
  • These girls are taken out of school, isolated from friends and forced into motherhood.
  • The leading cause of death for young women aged 15-19 in developing countries is pregnancy.

You can find these facts and more at Plan-International.org.

Jennifer James wrote at Babble.com, “I have two daughters (14 and 11) and if they were born in some cultures in developing countries there is a high probability they would be married by now, have little education, or would even be young mothers. Those are absolutely terrifying notions for me to fathom, and yet that is the reality for millions upon millions of girls around the world.” I couldn’t agree more with Jennifer’s sentiments—our daughters are blessed with opportunity.

What can you do to help?

Raise your hand on Facebook to participate in Plan’s Because I’m A Girl campaign and visit Plan’s website for more information.

Learn more about CARE’s End Child Marriage campaign and get involved. CARE is one of the world’s largest private international humanitarian organizations.

Participate in 10x10act.org’s International Day of the Girl 12-hour Tweet-A-Thon on Twitter by following the hashtag #IDG2012.

And don’t forget to check out the Empire State Building if you have a chance. My beloved Bree Van de Kamp aka Marcia Cross, along with Plan representatives, will illuminate the ESB pink and white in honor of the first annual International Day of the Girl.

We hope you will join us today and every day in supporting, celebrating and working to advance the lives of girls worldwide.