The 8th International Day of the Girl Child Conference called for unity for girls to achieve their dreams.

This year's International Day of the Girl Child Conference, organized for the eighth time on October 11 in İstanbul, provided a platform for influential women from sports, media and community to share their inspiring stories.

12 October 2022
UN0719685
UNICEF/UN0719685/Güler

Istanbul, 11 October 2022 - Women, who have achieved great success at national and international levels, came together to share their unique and uplifting stories to challenge the status quo on gender roles and emphasize that when given the opportunity, girls can, too, achieve everything.

The International Day of the Girl Conference themed 'Girls Are Changing the World' organized by UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women Türkiye in partnership with Aydın Doğan Foundation aimed to reiterate that empowering girls and investing in their education would lead to a better future for all. When girls are empowered and their health, education, rights and well-being are prioritized, this will have a multiplier effect on the advancement of societies.

Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ: “All of us will pay the price for each day without gender equality”

During her address at the welcoming session of the International Day of the Girl Conference Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ, President of Aydın Doğan Foundation, said: “Globally, one out of every four girls in the age of 15 to 19 is unemployed and do not have access to education. Today, around 130 million girls are out of school. Gender inequality was already a prevalent injustice before the pandemic, and now it has been growing exponentially driven by the negative impacts of the pandemic. It is estimated that an additional number of 11 million girls may not get to return to school after the pandemic is over. Even if they don't have access to equal opportunities when starting life, providing girls, women and even men with equal opportunities can help improve the lives of all people living in this world. We advocate for the rights of girls in all parts of the world, and we call for further support. We must listen to them! All of us will pay the price for each day without gender equality”.

Let's have faith in girls and eliminate the barriers...

In her remarks, UNICEF Türkiye Representative Regina De Dominicis said “The 600 million adolescent girls living in our world today are ready to become the largest generation of women leaders ever seen in history. This is with one condition only: We should equip them with the right opportunities and skills. On this “Day of the Girl” we invite governments, stakeholders, communities, and parents to believe in adolescent girls and remove the barriers in front of them, to allow them to flourish and contribute to their communities.”

Yearning for a world free of violence and discrimination

“On this year's Day of the Girl Child, we aim for a world where girls lead, they have the freedom to make their dreams come true, they know and enjoy their rights, they are free from violence and discrimination, and they are acknowledged as equal members of communities and societies” said UN Women Türkiye Country Director Asya Varbanova, emphasizing that this requires bold moves, leadership by girls and young women as well as their full participation in decision-making.

Bodily autonomy of women and girls...

Suggesting that the key to helping girls change the world is bodily autonomy, UNFPA Türkiye Representative Hassan Mohtashami said, “Bodily autonomy is about power and means; it is about choice and the right to a dignified life. Bodily autonomy is the foundation of gender equality and, above all, it is a fundamental right. When women and girls have access to the information, services and means that enable them to make decisions about their own bodies without facing violence, discrimination and coercion, they can shape their own destiny and discover their full potential. Societies can thrive only if women and girls are empowered to exercise bodily autonomy."

It means we are on the right track if we ensure girls can make their own way...

At the conference, speakers including women who have achieved great success at national or international scale, influencers and activists offered examples as to the capacities and achievements of girls and women in terms of overcoming gender barriers and driving change. Human rights advocate working in the fields of gender equality, sustainable development, reproductive rights and child labor, İlayda Eskitaşçıoğlu said: “We have to belive in girls' potential and prepare them for the future. But, we must do this without saddling them with becoming mothers and raising children for the future we dream about, without burdening them with saving the world. It means we are on the right track if we ensure girls can make their own decisions, and make their own way”.

Yasemin Adar who made Türkiye proud by winning the European championship in freestyle wrestling for a second time was on stage when Conference Moderator Yekta Kopan had ‘An inspirational chat with women in sports’. Noting that her dreams played the leading role in her success, Adar said: “I would never stop dreaming”. Jessica Lynne O'Rourke Çarmıklı, Coach of Fenerbahçe Women's Football Team shared her views as follows “Each girl has the power to change the world. You just need to find your power, your supporters and your courage to go on. I have found them all in football”.

Hadise calls for “taking down the stereotypes”

The final session of the conference hosted famous singer Hadise who is also a child rights activist at UNICEF Türkiye. Emphasizing that, not only girls but all members of the society were left behind in life due to gender inequality, Hadise said: “Let's not let this happen. Together, we can take down gender stereotypes and help girls grow up to be the people they want to be in life, and support their development.”

Media contacts

Sema Hosta
Chief of Communication
UNICEF in Türkiye
Tel: + 90 312 454 10 10

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