International Day of the Girl
By Barbara Murphy-Warrington, CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater New York
October 11, 2012 marks the first United Nations International Day of the Girl. The day is part of a larger global movement to recognize girls' rights and the unique challenges girls face. Girls around the world are still routinely stripped of educational opportunities, and disproportionally face violence, gender discrimination, and economic disparities.
Take, for example, 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai. At age 11, Ms. Yousefzai became an outspoken advocate for girls' education and children's rights in Pakistans northwestern Swat Valley. All she wanted was a chance to become a doctor in a region that does not support education for girls. Yesterday, in response to her advocacy, she was shot in the head by the Taliban. The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying they wanted to make an example of her.
In the United States today, women have not yet achieved the same access to opportunities as men, and too often, women find that they are paid less for the same work performed by their male co-workers. Women also are not represented equitably in leadership positions---in many different industries and sectors of our society. Yet, we know from several recent studies, that in companies where women are well represented in leadership positions, those companies tend to outperform companies where few women hold leadership positions.
Here at the Girl Scouts of Greater New York we are developing girls of courage, confidence, and character who advocate for themselves and others, locally and globally. Our girls develop a strong sense of self, critical thinking, and positive values. Girls who are adequately and passionately invested are able to develop their leadership capacities to serve their communities and make the world a better place for all. We are investing in today’s girls because we are helping to prepare them to be tomorrow’s leaders. However, we still have much work to do. Join the conversation on http://theworldwewantforgirls.tumblr.com/