In 2011, the United Nations declared 11 October the International Day of the Girl. It's a day to celebrate girls and raise awareness of the problems they face.
Girls face challenges such as violence, child marriage, early pregnancy and its health effects, and limited access to paid work.
Gender equality and education for all were two of the U.N. Millennium Goals that were to be reached by 2015, and they have been carried on into the Sustainable Development Goals which have replaced them, to be reached by 2030.
Thanks to the Millennium Goals and campaigners like Nobel Peace Laureat Malala Yousafzai (pictured), globally, girls have a much better chance of accessing education than in 2000, with 97 girls enrolled for every 100 boys. But in sub-Saharan Africa, only 84 girls are enrolled in secondary school for every 100 boys. UNESCO estimates that Almost 16 million girls between go to primary school compared to about 8 million boys.
Yet, there are many social and economic advantages to the entire community if girls are educated. For example, a child born to a woman who completes secondary education is 50% more likely to survive beyond the age of five.
Girls Count So Count Girls
The Sustainable Development Goals can only be efficient if there are reliable statistics to base them on. Women and girls are disproportionately likely to be forgotten in statistics, particularly in regions and cultures where they are mainly limited to the home sphere.
That is why the theme for this year's International Day of the Girl is Girls' Progress = Goals' Progress: What Counts for Girls.
Girls Take Over
The charity Plan International is encouraging girls around the world to "take over" on 11 October. Girls are taking over the roles of political leaders in 50 countries, from the major of Dublin, Ireland to the President of Nepal.
The UN, Plan International and USAID all have excellent resources for working on gender equality and education in class. See our Webpicks for details.
UN Photo/Amanda Voisard
> International Day of the Girl Webpicks
> Collecting Statistics: Class Project on Gender Equality