5 Things To Do On International Day Of The Girl 2019 That Will Make A Difference

UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

In 2012, the first International Day of the Girl took place. A day to reflect on the achievements of gender equality initiatives and a time to take further action to push forward those goals, Oct. 11 has turned into a truly powerful movement. But there is still much more to be done across the globe. Here's a few ways you can support International Day of the Girl.

This year, the United Nations' theme is GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable. It aims to celebrate the movements led by girls for girls and the progress made in boosting female education and ending child marriage. However, global commitments to improving the lives of girls everywhere are sadly still failing. As UN Women points out, 130 million girls are not given the chance to have an education and, every year, 12 million girls under 18 are married.

When girls do not have a choice, they do not have a life. They do not have a real opportunity to succeed. Reducing your level of takeaway coffees or weekend cocktails by a small amount would leave you with enough money to make a real difference to someone's life. Alternatively, if you're strapped for cash, you can show your support on social media.

Here's how.

1. Write A Positive Body Image Message

Plan International UK's new campaign revolves around body image. According to the charity, one in six girls in the UK have missed school or work due to appearance worries, and one in four have stayed indoors for the same reasons.

The children's organisation is therefore asking people to #ListenToGirls by sending them a body image-related message and encouraging them not to be held back by society's expectations. Whether it's an experience you had when you when younger or a lesson that you've learnt over time, each message will be shared with girls across the UK.

2. Join The #MarchForSisterhood

100 young female activists (who all form part of Girls Who Code) have organised the world's first all-digital march. And they want you to be a part of it. All that's required is a video of you marching and an explanation of what you're marching for to raise awareness of a multitude of issues.

Share the video on social media using the hashtags #MarchForSisterhood and #DayofTheGirl and don't forget to tag @girlswho code along with your family and friends.

3. Donate To The Malala Fund

Malala Fund - Watch Her Shine on YouTube

Set up by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Malala Fund aims to give girls the opportunity to reach their full potential by investing in their education.

A one-off or monthly donation can help reduce that shocking statistic. Your money will go towards educational programmes in the likes of Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Syria. Plus, you can hear from some of the girls you'll help on Malala Fund's YouTube channel.

4. Sponsor A Girl In Need

ActionAid's sponsorship programme costs as little as £19.50 a month. That's just 65p a day i.e. less than your morning coffee. Its 2019 International Day of the Girl celebrations also focus on the right to education. Sponsoring a girl will help fund school buildings and supplies as well as fees for individual students.

You can choose a specific country to help or opt for your money to go to where the need is greatest. You'll receive handwritten messages from the girl you're helping twice a year and be able to watch them thrive.

5. Help End Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM), according to the World Health Organisation, has affected 200 million girls and women. Although it is a global problem, the UK hasn't escaped its clutches. City University research estimates that 137,000 girls and women are dealing with the results of FGM in England and Wales alone.

In 2019, activist Nimco Ali and Brendan Wynne co-founded The Five Foundation. Its goal is simple: to end FGM by 2030 and save the millions of people who are still at risk each year. Still in its infancy, the organisation welcomes any donations or support. So whether you have a few pounds to spare or want to convince your company to partner up, every action really does count.