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Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem on the International Day of the Girl Child, 11 October 2019

Girl Force: 
Unscripted and unstoppable on the road to Nairobi and beyond!

Around the world, girls are challenging gender stereotypes and breaking free from the traditional roles that society has dictated for generations. More and more are saying no to child marriage and pushing for an end to the practice. They are advocating for their right to stay in school and to live free from violence and harm. They are calling for urgent climate action and working to build more just, equitable and sustainable societies. 

On this International Day of the Girl Child, let’s stand with them. This means ensuring that they have the information and support they need to make a safe, healthy transition to adulthood. It means listening to their voices and respecting their rights and choices.

When girls have age-appropriate knowledge about their bodies and relationships, they are better able to prevent pregnancy and protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. They can stay on track to complete their education and gain the skills they need to find and keep decent jobs and reach their full potential. This is life-changing for girls and game-changing for societies. Empowering girls in all spheres of their lives can help countries lay the foundation for prosperity and well-being and reap a demographic dividend of economic growth.