Support spreads for International Day of the Girl online

11 Oct 2016

Lottie doll strikes a ‘power pose’ for International Day of the Girl. Image: Luke Maxwell

For International Day of the Girl Child, there are many ways you can show your support for empowering girls and young women, online and offline.

In 2011, the United Nations declared 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child. It’s an annual opportunity to prompt people worldwide to take stock of the disadvantage and discrimination borne by girls everywhere.

Around the world, girls are missing out on education, they are limited in opportunities for advancement, and they are getting married off and bearing children before they reach 15.

In the Girls’ Opportunity Index released today by Save the Children, the world’s biggest economy – the US – ranks 32nd due to low representation of women in government, high rates of teenage pregnancy and a poor record on maternal deaths. Ireland does slightly better at 29th, but its score is also dragged down significantly by a lack of women leading the country.

This factor affects most countries on the list, with even the top three of Sweden, Finland and Norway suffering in this regard compared to their strong figures elsewhere.

Inspirefest 2017

Data that counts for girls

The issues highlighted today affect girls on a daily basis and this year’s theme, ‘Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls’, is all about getting the data that can better inform change-making policy and programme decisions.

Currently, gaps in data on girls and young women, a lack of systematic analysis and limited use of existing data is inhibiting the UN’s ability to monitor and communicate the wellbeing and progress of half of humanity. Through the collection and analysis of girl-focused, girl-relevant and sex-disaggregated data, decision-makers can adequately measure and understand the challenges girls face, and track progress towards solutions.

Power to the girls

Inevitably, the message of equality for girls is spreading online, with #DayoftheGirl trending on Twitter, and Facebook giving users the option to decorate their profile picture with a message of support from selected organisations. (If you’re not prompted with the option after you log in, click here to change your profile picture with a frame by selecting ‘Day of the Girl’ from the drop-down menu.)

Another trend kicking off today is the #LottiePowerPose, with dolls from the Lottie collection – and their owners – striking a pose for young girls’ empowerment.

This movement stems from a moment at Inspirefest this summer, when filmmaker Elena Rossini and investor Kelly Hoey were discussing Amy Cuddy’s body language research on power poses and the subsequent questioning of its validity.

Despite the lack of repeatable results to support the theory, Rossini and Hoey still found merit in the use of empowered body language, giving rise to a supportive Lottie Power Pose from the audience.

“Kelly and Elena, being friends and a positive force of creative, fun energy, decided to put their gifted Lotties in what we dubbed the Lottie Power Pose!” explained Marie Shields from doll-maker Arklu.

This has prompted an online campaign for Day of the Girl to spark “an act of empowerment for the real girls who have inspired Lottie dolls, for the men and women in STEAM who are role models to our brand and following, and for the trailblazers who’ve gone before us and the sisterhood of women who support and inspire one another today, via Lottie and Finn!”

So strike a pose, send a tweet, decorate your Facebook profile pic, start a conversation – and do consider also supporting some of the incredible organisations effecting change for young girls around the world.

12 organisations supporting girls around the world

Plan International: The organisation credited with starting International Day of the Girl Child through support for the Because I Am a Girl campaign, this child rights organisation operates in over 70 countries around the world.

Save the Children: In the UK and around the world, Save the Children strives to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm.

Malala Fund: Co-founded by the truly inspiring Malala Yousafzai, Malala Fund’s goal is to enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education so that they can achieve their potential and be positive change-makers in their families and communities.

Afrika Tikkun: Formed soon after the emergence of democracy in South Africa in 1995, Afrika Tikkun invests in the development of disadvantaged youth in South Africa, from cradle to career.

Akili Dada: A leadership incubator empowering the next generation of African women leaders by investing in high-potential adolescent girls from underprivileged backgrounds.

Centre for Social Research (CSR) India: CSR is a non-governmental organisation which works towards building a gender-just society in India by tackling a multitude of complex social and cultural challenges.

ChildFund Ireland: ChildFund Ireland’s mission is to work internationally to develop an enabling environment where children’s basic needs are met and their rights are promoted and respected.

Irish Girl Guides: With approximately 12,000 members across the 26 counties of Ireland, Irish Girl Guides provides an informal educational programme of fun and challenging activities to foster confidence and leadership skills in girls and young women.

World Vision: World Vision Ireland is part of the largest non-government, non-profit overseas development and aid organisation in the world, reaching 100m people worldwide. The child-focused NGO has 44,000 staff members working in nearly 100 countries.

Girls20: Based in Canada, Girls20 is a globally active social enterprise that cultivates a new generation of female leaders through education, entrepreneurial training, leadership and global experiences, with the ultimate goal of increasing female labour force participation around the world.

She Leads Africa: She Leads Africa is the a destination for young African women looking to build successful careers or businesses, offering advice, opportunities, inspiration and more.

Stemettes: The Stemettes mission is to show that girls can do science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) as well as any of their counterparts. This organisation is behind the Outbox Incubator, the world’s first incubator programme for young women, which is coming to Dublin.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.