International Day of the Girl

20141007124044764International Day of the Girl is held on annually 11th October and is an opportunity to raise awareness about all issues concerning gender inequality around the world. It’s a day when activist groups come together under the same goal to highlight, discuss, and take action to advance rights and opportunities for girls everywhere.

It is time we put girls’ rights and gender empowerment at the forefront of debates about how we see the world and what we will do in the future.

International Day of the Girl is an opportunity to once again highlight the issues facing girls and young women and to look at ways to make the future better.

This week in the European Parliament I meet with representatives of the European Alliance for Girls and pledged to promote girls’ rights by signing the Girls’ Declaration.

The Girls’ Declaration brings together the hopes and demands of girls all over the world. Girls who want more and better opportunities for themselves – to be able to finish school and get a proper education, to have control over their health and their sexual health decisions, to be free to shape their own destinies.

In Europe we talk about gender quotas for elections, all-female panels and promoting women on boards and I am delighted we are having these conversations. But we also need to look at what comes first: promoting girls in schools, telling them it’s ok to know the answer, to speak up in class and to choose “tough” subjects like maths and science.

We must do more to protect this generation, and every generation, of girls; to build a better future for everyone. Gender inequality needs everyone to get involved, not just women. It is also a men’s issue and the only way to overcome this inequality is for everyone to get involved in the solution.