Friday, October 11 marks the second observation of International Day of the Girl Child

October 11, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013, marks the second annual celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child, which was created by a resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011 to recognize the challenges girls face around the world. 

This year’s focus, Innovating for Girl’s Education, highlights the importance of innovation in technology and policies to facilitate more girls to advance their education. Wellesley's Rocio Ortega ’16, a national Youth Champion for the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign, hopes the Day will find a home at Wellesley College.

“Wellesley Women are given leadership opportunities when others aren’t,” Ortega said. “It’s our social responsibility to take advantage of them to support our global sisters.”

Ortega is one of five national Youth Champions for the UN Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign, an initiative founded in 2010 to empower girls and raise awareness of issues that face girls in the developing world. As Youth Champion, Ortega serves as a spokesperson and advocate for the campaign’s causes. Although there are Girl Up coalitions all over the country, there currently aren’t any in Boston. Ortega hopes to change that.

Girl Up worked to help pass the Child Marriage Prevention Act of 2012 in the Senate, and is currently working on passing the Girls Count Act, which would mandate proper documentation for girls born worldwide. On campus, Girl Up has partnered with Wellesley UNICEF, Amnesty International, and Wellesley Peace Coalition to raise awareness through the film screening of Girl Rising on International Women’s Day last March. For this year’s Day of the Girl, Girl Up, Wellesley for UNICEF, and Wellesley Peace Coalition will open an information booth at the Campus Center to provide students with an opportunity to learn more about the organizations and their causes.

Though the International Day of the Girl may be a newcomer to Wellesley, its message and theme are not; on Tuesday, October 8, the annual Wilson Lecture featured Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children, who discussed the importance of investing in the early health and education of children. The Day also serves as a strong reminder of the many contributions Wellesley alumnae and students have made to bettering the lives of women and girls, and encourages all to ask themselves what more they can do for their global community.

Susan D. Puente-Matos ‘14