On International Day of the Girl Child, the United States joins the global community in recognizing an inherent truth: all girls around the world deserve to live safe, healthy, and empowered lives. Girls are critical participants in our local and global communities, poised to be at the forefront of the world’s greatest challenges, including ending gender-based violence, addressing the climate crisis, and advancing racial and gender equity and equality.
The United States recognizes that girls face a unique set of challenges and barriers that impede the realization of their aspirations and full potential, including unequal access to education and healthcare, fear of violence, and challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States recognizes that we must do more to support girls, in all their diversity, because when they are fully empowered, we are all better for it.
From the promotion of girls’ education and leadership to the prevention and response to all forms of gender-based violence, the United States is partnering with girls and their communities to advance gender equity and equality and the participation of girls in all aspects of society. Disruptions in access to education due to COVID-19 will have lasting impacts on the most marginalized girls, with 20 million more secondary-aged girls likely to be out of school post-pandemic. Education is essential, and we are committed to ensuring that girls have equitable access to education through the enactment of reforms to eliminate educational disparities.
We also recognize that gender-based violence, inside and outside of schools, can impede a girl’s ability to learn. That is why we’re working to strengthen responses to sexual harassment and abuse in education and disincentivize child, early, and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation, practices that keep countless girls out of school. Through our diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility efforts, the United States strives to ensure that the aspirations of girls are limitless and that they see themselves represented in the highest levels of government because we know that diversity is our strength.
We are proud to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child, and today, like every day, the United States stands firm in its long-standing commitment to the empowerment and rights of girls, in all their diversity, because we know that societies in which girls are enabled to be full and free participants are safer, more secure, and more prosperous.