Photo Credit: Max W. Orenstein
Oct 11
October 11, 2016

International Day of the Girl 2016: 5 Stories of Hope and Impact


Today marks the fifth International Day of the Girl. This is a day to remind ourselves of the power of investing in the girls and young women. It’s also a moment to reflect on the gains that the world’s 1.1 billion girls have made, and a time to focus on the challenges that remain.  

We couldn’t do this without data. Data illuminates both progress and setbacks. For example, evidence from the No Ceilings’ Full Participation Report tells us that girls have made significant advances since 1995 in the areas of health and education. Yet we also know that much work remains to address disparities in areas such as early marriage, violence against girls, and secondary education.   

With this information, we can make informed decisions about how to ensure that every girl is secure and has equal rights and opportunities. That’s why this year’s International Day of the Girl theme, “Girls' Progress = Goals' Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement” is so important.

As we continue the charge ahead in our work to advance opportunities for girls and women, today we are looking back at five stories of hope and impact and looking forward to creating new stories for a brighter future. 

Mobilizing to Provide 15 Million Girls with a Safe Space to Learn
By Julia Gillard, Former Prime Minister of Australia

Today, more than 60 million girls of primary and lower secondary school age are not in school. They don’t have a fair chance to learn in a safe environment. Together, we are dreaming a big dream to counter this reality: imagining a world where every girl gets to go to primary school, then secondary school, then transition well in to post-school education or the workforce.

In this blog post, Julia Gillard, Former Prime Minister of Australia relays the importance of Girls CHARGE, an ambitious initiative launched at the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2014, co-chaired by No Ceilings and the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institute. Today, Girls CHARGE brings together 50 cross-sector partners who have collectively committed over $800 million to improve girls’ education by 2019.     

Partnering for Girls, Women, and the Global Goals
By Rachel Tulchin, Deputy Director, No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project

Photo Credit: Juliana Thomas / Clinton Global Initiative

“The gains that have been made have not been shared by all. Geography, income, age, race, gender identity, and other factors, remain powerful determinants for girls’ and women’s chances at equal rights and opportunities,” said Chelsea Clinton, who announced this group of commitments on-stage during a CGI plenary session titled, Girl, Uninterrupted: Increasing Opportunity During Adolescence. Despite significant progress, we are not there yet.

At this year’s 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, No Ceilings’ Deputy Director Rachel Tulchin spoke with partners of a coalition of 30 partners from the public and provide sector that has made 24 specific Commitments to Action to advance women’s economic participation, address violence against girls and women, and promote women’s leadership. In this piece, partners share some of the insights, hopes, and strategies behind this exciting collaboration.

What Global Leaders Are Doing to Close the Digital Gender Divide
By Renée Joslyn, Director of Girls and Women Integration, Clinton Global Initiative

Photo Credit: Kate Holt / Cherie Blair Foundation

While access to the Internet has increased over the past two decades, the remaining digital divide has a profound impact on girls and women around the world. According to a recent study, approximately 4.4 billion people are offline, of which 52 percent are women. It also found that in the developing world, 23 percent fewer women than men are on the Internet.

For many of us, it’s hard to imagine life before the Internet. But 4.4 billion people are offline, with 23 percent fewer women than men on the Internet in the developing world. In this blog post, Renée explores the challenges and implications of the digital divide and how it affects girls and women around the world.

Why I’m Hopeful for a No Ceilings Generation in Afghanistan
By Shabana Basij-Rasikh, Co-Founder of SOLA – School of Leadership, Afghanistan

I was 12 when the Taliban fell and I set foot in a formal school for the very first time in my life. I did well and won a scholarship to go to school in the U.S. The year I entered Middlebury College, I learned that only 6% of Afghan women had a bachelor’s degree. Sitting on the college’s bucolic campus, I felt extremely lucky but also overwhelmed, guilty, and morally obligated. I decided then to use my education to make sure other Afghan girls have similar opportunities.

Shabana’s story is nothing short of remarkable. Banned from going to elementary school by the Taliban, Shabana spent years in a secret school determined to get an education. Today, Shabana is the co-founder of the only boarding school for girls in Afghanistan. This blog post features excerpts from the moving remarks she gave at a No Ceilings event on March 9, 2015. 

Six Girls Who Inspire Me
By Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair, Clinton Foundation

Kimberly, an 11-year-old girl, shared her story at the Embrace Tomorrow conversation my father and I hosted with the Nelson Mandela Foundation this summer in South Africa, while we were visiting Clinton Foundation projects across the continent. Kimberly is the founder of the nonprofit, The Hand That Gives, and travels between provinces in South Africa to educate girls about HIV/AIDS, hygiene, the use of sanitary pads, and the importance of education.

On International Day of the Girl in 2013, Chelsea shared the stories of six inspirational girls that she’d met through her work at the Clinton Foundation. From Srey, who was one of the first HIV-positive children in Cambodia to receive treatment thanks to the Clinton Health Access Initiative to Haile, a 12-year old powerhouse dedicated to educating her family and peers about the importance of healthy eating, these girls are reminders of the promise of the future.