International Day of the Girl

How to invest in a better future for girls

History of International Day of the Girl

International Day of the Girl was set as day of observance by the United Nations in 2012 and the first International Day of the Girl was held on 11th October 2012. 

Its mission is “to help galvanise worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”

The day is marked to raise awareness of the unique challenges faced by girls and celebrates the inclusion of girls' rights as a distinct cohort in research, policy and development plans.

Up until recently international law and global development plans did not consider the nature of the added disadvantage girls face in realising their human rights, so Day of the Girl marks this important inclusion in human rights history every year. 

Each year, International Day of the Girl has a distinct theme:

  • In 2012, the theme was 'ending child marriage'.
  • In 2013, the theme was 'innovating for girls' education'.
  • In 2014, the theme was 'Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence'.
  • In 2015, the theme was 'The Power of Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030'.
  • In 2016, the theme was 'Girls' Progress = Goals' Progress: What Counts for Girls'.
  • In 2017, the theme was 'Empower Girls: Before, during and after crises'.
  • In 2018, the theme was 'With Her: A Skilled Girl Force'.
  • In 2019, the theme was 'GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable'.
  • In 2020, the theme is 'My voice, our equal future'.


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Top image: Valeria, 5, during a creative workshop run by ActionAid in El Estor, Guatemala. Karin Schermbrucker/ActionAid

Page updated 1 February 2021