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Today marks International Day of the Girl Child: an annual initiative launched by the United Nations to support and empower young women across the globe with the theme this year focused on helping girls overcome adversity.According to UNICEF, 600 million adolescent girls will start work in the next decade and 90 per cent of those living in developing countries will go into informal roles where abuse and exploitation are rife.

This is what this 2018’s campaign seeks to combat under the theme: “With Her: A Skilled GirlForce”, which marks the beginning of a year-long effort to advocate female entrepreneurship and provide young women across the world with the tools they need to carve their own professional paths.

What is International Day of the Girl Child?

Launched in 2012, International Day of the Girl Child was launched need to address issues affecting young women across the globe such as child marriage, inequality and gender-based violence.

The initiative began as a project by the global children’s charity Plan International, growing out of the company’s “Because I Am A Girl” campaign which highlighted the need for greater education, medical care and legal rights for young women in developing countries. After gaining traction, the campaign was adopted by the UN and turned into the global initiative it is now. Each year has a different theme. The first was “ending child marriage” and the second, in 2013, was “innovating girl’s education”.

How does it achieve change?

The fundamental aim of The International Day of the Girl Child is to raise awareness of the challenges that girls in developing countries face via social media.Each year achieves different things depending on the theme.

For example, the aim of the inaugural International Day of the Girl Child was to combat the fact that 12 million girls under the age of 18 would be married that year while 21 million girls in developing countries aged 15 to 19 would become pregnant.

While child marriage remains a concern, projects such as the International Day of the Girl Child help to highlight the prevalence of these issues, provoke important conversations at a governmental level and inspire others to act.

What is the aim this year?

This year’s theme of entrepreneurship derives from a need to address increasing female unemployment rates across the globe in addition to tackling gender bias that may stop women from pursuing certain career paths

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