International Day of the Girl 2012

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Oct 12, 2012
by Salzburg Global Seminar Staff
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International Day of the Girl 2012

Investing in women and girls as a force for change “Women, and young women in particular, need to have voice in decision-making processes and be positioned for leadership.” So says the abstract of the Salzburg Global Seminar session for 2013 on ‘Creating Social and Political Transformation: Women as a Force for Change’.But as the events leading up to the first inaugural International Day of the Girl Child on October 11 demonstrated, it is not only women whose voices need to be heard and appreciated – but girls also.The bravery of girls’ education advocate and activist, Malala Yousafzai, has been remarkable since the then-11-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl first came to public attention in 2009 when she wrote a diary for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban. Despite admitting that she feared for her life, the now-14-year-old spoke of wanting to form her own political party to campaign for education rights and was awarded Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize in 2011.But on October 9, after stepping off a bus on her way home from school, Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman. She remains in a critical condition in a hospital in Pakistan.International Day of the Girl has been launched this year “to speak out against gender bias and advocate for girls’ rights everywhere,” with the UN choosing to focus on child marriage for this first year of observance. Since its first women’s issues-focused seminar in 1980 through to the forming of its annual program on the topic in 2004, Salzburg Global Seminar has sought to create a more equitable and safe world for girls – and by extension all – around the globe. “SGS maintains a commitment to gender justice and equality,” says Program Director for Gender and Philanthropy, Nancy Smith.“And we applaud those who are doing difficult and often dangerous work to stand up to injustice.” The Seminar’s women and gender issues programs have covered a wide-range of topics, from ‘Transforming Agricultural Development and Production in Africa: Closing Gender Gaps and Empowering Rural Women in Policy and Practice’ and ‘Women and Economic Growth: Making Investments Count for the Future’ to ‘Smart Change: Investing in Women and Girls- Leveraging Philanthropy for Global Impact’, ‘Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Women in Politics and Business’ and ‘Women, Political Power, and Next Generation Leadership’.Salzburg Global Seminar’s next session on women’s issues takes place in February 2013.


SGS Fellows Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (1997) and Ambassador Melanne Verveer (2004) speak to a group of visiting girl scouts in honor of the first-ever International Day of the Girl