Today is International Day of the Girl Child

In today’s world the gender gap is still growing. Globally, 13.4% of young women aged 15 to 24 versus 12.1% of young men are unemployed. This year 12 million girls under the age of 18 will be married. 21 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 in developing countries will become pregnant.

One billion young people – 600 million of them, girls – will be entering the workforce in the next decade. In a world that is becoming more technologically complex, only a small percentage of women will be sufficiently educated to take advantage of the changes. More than 90% will be from developing countries, where educational opportunities are minimal and low paying industries are not regulated, pay is low and abuse is widespread.

In Developing Countries education is not a priority and many young women do not get the opportunity to complete even secondary school. They have no access to mentors, guidance counselors or trainers, and are unable to develop the technical skills necessary for success. Entrepreneurs, in many cases, are unable to secure adequate financing to start businesses.

For them to succeed, the world’s 600 million young women who will be entering the workforce need support from the global community. To enter the workforce and become a vital part of it, access to advanced education must become a priority. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curricula must be opened up to women in developing countries. Career guidance, apprenticeship and internship programs have to be expanded to ease the transition from school to work. Greater access to loans and financing will encourage more female entrepreneurship.

And yet, despite all the obstacles, women are becoming a force to be reckoned with. They are increasingly helping to solve technological challenges, are raising their collective voices to protest inequality and become elected officials. Join us in celebrating girls everywhere today as they inspire us with their courage. #dayofthegirl