The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, announced Canada intends to support the establishment of an International Day of the Girl. The announcement was made during a meeting with young women from Plan Canada who are working to promote equal treatment and opportunities for girls around the world, including equality under the law, better nutrition and health care, equal access to education and training, and freedom from violence and abuse.
"On the occasion of International Women's Day, the Government of Canada is proud to encourage leadership among girls to strive for what they believe is right, and to inspire more ideas and support for girls to prosper and succeed. A girl who experiences equality has a greater likelihood of being self-confident and aware of her own potential, and of being empowered to access the education, training and career opportunities that will contribute to her success in life," said Minister Ambrose. "As Canadians we recognize that when girls have a solid foundation, with the best skills and living conditions, they can truly soar to new heights and contribute to the health of a nation. An International Day of the Girl can galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for these goals."
If adopted as a United Nations Resolution, an International Day of the Girl could be established as early as the fall of 2011. The idea was introduced to Minister Ambrose by a delegation of girls from Plan Canada at the 55th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women at United Nations Headquarters in February 2011. Plan International is promoting the establishment of an International Day of the Girl to raise global awareness of the unique challenges facing girls, as well as the key role they can play in addressing larger issues of poverty and development.
"The Day of the Girl would definitely spark discussions throughout the world about girls' rights, how girls are impacted by policies, the challenges that girls face. I would use the Day of the Girl as another opportunity to bring up the issue of girls' rights with my peers, in my community and to my leaders" said 17-year-old Rachel, a Canadian student involved in Plan Canada's Because I am a Girl Speakers Bureau.
"The Day of the Girl would be important because it would bring awareness to adults that girls are worth investing in. I think it is our right to be equal players in society and we need help to make our voices heard. We are relying on girls, boys, women and men to raise their voices on our behalf," said 11-year-old Madeleine, a Canadian student and youth advocate with Plan Canada.
Plan Canada is a non-governmental organization that aims to achieve lasting improvements in the quality of life of children, families and communities in developing countries. For more information, visit www.plancanada.ca.
To mark the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, Canada chose as its 2011 theme Girls' Rights Matter / Les droits des filles comptent. This theme also aligns with the United Nation's theme, Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women. International Women's Day and International Women's Week provide opportunities to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women and girls. Every year, Canadians celebrate this progress toward equality for women, and reflect on the challenges that remain.
For further information on International Women's Day and International Women's Week, visit the website of Status of Women Canada at http://www.iwd.gc.ca.