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11 October - International Day of the Girl Child: Innovate to Educate

Unicef Moldova
© UNICEF Moldova 2013

 Message of the United Nations Secretary General

   11 October 2013 - Empowering girls, ensuring their human rights and addressing the discrimination and violence they face are essential to progress for the whole human family. One of the best ways to achieve all of these goals is to provide girls with the education they deserve.

   Yet too many girls in too many countries are held back simply because of their gender. Those whose mother was also deprived of education, who live in a poor community, or who have a disability face an even steeper climb. Among girls who do make it to school, many face discrimination and violence.

   I launched the Global Education First Initiative to accelerate progress in getting every child into school, especially girls. We are aiming to teach more than reading and counting; we are striving to raise global citizens who can rise to the complex challenges of the 21st century.

   To achieve meaningful results, we need fresh solutions to girls’ education challenges and we must heed the voices of young people. 

   I have heard from girls around the world participating in the consultations for the new Girl Declaration. I resolve to ensure that Global Education First mobilizes all partners to respond to their powerful call for empowerment. 

   More broadly, our campaign to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and shape a vision beyond that date must address the concerns and potential of the world’s girls.

   On this International Day of the Girl Child, let us work together to invest in education so that girls can advance in their personal development and contribute to our common future.


  1. More girls are in school today than ever before. The world has achieved tremendous progress in getting girls into primary school. However, our work in educating girls remains unfinished.
  2. Millions of girls never enter school, and those who enter often drop out without acquiring adequate skills. An incomplete education means unfulfilled potential. This is particularly the case for the poorest and most disadvantaged girls. 
  3. There is overwhelming evidence that girls’ education is the most consistent driver of development goals. Secondary education for girls is especially transformative for girls themselves and for societies.
  4. Business as usual is not enough. Innovation has the power to achieve and elevate our ambitions for girls’ education and all that education promises.
  5. Learning and achievement can be a reality for all girls if the international and local communities and governments step up their efforts through renewed commitment and innovative solutions to girls’ education, especially through the Post 2015 development goals



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