Since 2012, Oct. 11 has been recognized as the International Day of the Girl. In Canada, this is an important part of Women’s History Month celebrations.
International Day of the Girl promotes equal treatment and opportunities for girls in areas such as law, nutrition, freedom from violence and abuse, health care, education and training.
For girls, success starts at home. To succeed, the support given at home provides the stepping stone to meet the markers and demand of the ever-changing world of academics, employment and leadership.
Researchers at the University of Essex released a study that suggests parents who consistently displayed high parental expectations were less likely to fall into traps that made the girls less likely to succeed.
Andrew Sofin, Psychotherapist and Couple and Family Therapist says that the easiest thing families can do is to open the dialogue that girls can do anything, not once, or when something bad happens, but as a daily reminder that they can be who they want to be without any doubts or fears from society.
“Culture is still patriarchally centred. Boys are usually picked first, asked to speak up and girls are getting the message that boys are valued much more. It is not the same if you look back through the last 50 years we’ve made amazing progress,” says Sofin.
He also states that statistically, children, both boys and girls look up to their same-sex parent for guidance and how gender relations are in the household. Men choosing to stay home as the caregiver while the woman has a career and family life. The openness and acceptance of non-traditional family roles play an important part in the development of young girls.
Girls who are given the opportunity to be with other girls often have more success in building self-esteem and empowerment. As a father of two teenage girls, Sofin says he understands the importance of starting the conversation with young women and families.
NATO (North American Treaty Organisation) offers the Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme that encourages and empowers female scientists and experts to provide leadership to engage in knowledge-sharing and training in a number of fields in relation to today’s security challenges.
The SPS Programme enhances practical, result-oriented cooperation involving scientists, experts and government officials from NATO member and partner countries alike. Activities are based on scientific research, technological innovation and knowledge exchange.
The 2018 theme for the International Day of the Girl is #MakeAnImpact, it was announced by the minister of status of women, Maryam Monsef.
Across the world, girls are continuously making an impact and creating positive change in their communities and beyond. Do you know a girl making an impact in her community? Have her share her story on social media with the hashtag #MakeAnImpact.
In celebration, Military Family Resource Centers across the country are hosting events for girls in their communities throughout the weekend. Contact your local MFRC for events near you.