Editorial: International Day of the Girl

Change starts with empowering youth

A couple of years ago, newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was questioned why his cabinet was half female.

“Because it’s 2015,” was his simple retort. The PM was both praised and mocked for his answer, but the sad truth is while we still have a long way to go in terms of empowering females in Canada, the situation is far worse in many countries and cultures around the world.

Change especially needs to start with the young. That’s why International Day of the Girl, celebrated for the sixth year on Oct. 11, is so important. Girls who grow up healthy, safe and empowered become empowered women, able to fulfill their dreams and bring change.

It was also 2015 when world leaders signed on to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and made a promise to empower all girls.

RELATED: It’s International Day of the Girl

“No society will flourish and no peace agreement will be lasting without empowering girls in peacebuilding and reconstruction,” said Irina Bokova, director-general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “It is time to put this imperative at the heart of all of our efforts in addressing fragility, conflict and violence.”

There has been progress but more awareness and support is needed for this drive to create a world where girls around the world don’t have to fight for their freedom. Huge challenges remain: child marriage, access to education and threats of violence to those who demand what should be basic rights, like Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in 2012 for not only daring to go to school in a Taliban-controlled area but speaking out about it.

Yousafzai, now 18, survived her attempted execution and continues to advocate for access to education and remains an example of what an empowered girl can achieve. The world needs more like her.

Why? Because it’s time.

Just Posted

Charges for the attempted murder of an Oliver man dropped

Afshin Maleki Ighani was accused of shooting an Oliver man in April.

Minor chlorine leak at Penticton water treatment plant

Emergency responders are at the Penticton water treatment plant

Former Penticton Pinnacles Football coach sues club

Ezra Cremers is suing the Pinnacles Football Club for wrongful dismissal and breach of contract

Holiday changes for curbside pickup

The RDOS is rescheduling some pickups around the holidays

Wintry weather to roll into Southern Interior

The Southern Interior is expected to get a snowstorm followed by freezing temperatures.

Santa’s helpers take treats to an Okanagan retirement home

Santa’s Little Helpers surprised an Okanagan retirement home with chocolates, flowers and cupcakes.

UPDATE: Grizzly bear trophy hunting over in B.C.

Now only Indigenous people can hunt bears for meat

Star Blue Jays announced for Vancouver ‘Winter Tour’ event in January

Toronto’s pro baseball team heads west for two-day event

Mental effects of wildfire still linger in Fort McMurray

‘Resilient, but tired:’ Mental effects of wildfire lingering in Fort McMurray

Climate change hits Winter Olympic preparation

AP Exclusive: Climate change hits Winter Olympic preparation

Calgary Flames thump Vancouver Canucks 6-1

Mark Giordano, Sam Bennett lead the way as Flames thump Canucks 6-1

Homicide detectives now probing billionaire couple’s death

Police release cause of death of Barry and Honey Sherman as “ligature neck compression”

‘Case not made’ for Liberal bill’s problematic cyberspy powers

The Liberal government’s ill-defined plan to give Canada’s cyberspy agency wide-ranging powers to go on the attack against threats could trample civil liberties

Most Read