The theme for 2021 is ‘Heal Country’. AWAU acknowledges the enduring connection to Country that is inherent to the identity of all Indigenous peoples. This year's theme calls us all to actively seek out greater protections for Country and the sacred lands, sites and cultural heritage in this evolving climate.
AWAU stands in mighty solidarity with the traditional owners, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. As allies, let us all remember to show up for Country, as it is our collective responsibility to carry their voices into all spaces on this land. We know that sovereignty has never been ceded and we must continue to work together as one to contribute to healing.
Twenty-five years ago, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action: the most comprehensive policy agenda for gender equality was established at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing China. In the subsequent years, girls and women have advocated for this agenda through the mobilization of grassroots, national and international actions. With the advent of Generation Equality UN Women and other UN Bodies working for the rights of Girls and Young Women are eager to centre the voices of Girls in building a gender equal future.
Every year on October 11th, the world comes together to recognise the challenges experienced by girls globally. From increased rates of cultural practices that perpetuate gender-based violence like female genital mutilation, to reduced education opportunities – girls around the world experience many obstacles that impact their livelihoods. COVID-19 has also reinforced many gaps experienced by girls including violations of sexual and reproductive health rights, limited access to water and sanitation, targeted abuse/harassment online and economic disempowerment.
Today is also a day to recognises girls as champions for change in their own right. Girls are increasingly being seen as valued leaders committed to co-creating and accelerating social change and developing innovative solutions for gender justice. Today we celebrate girls, from all walks of life. We celebrate girls in Australia and girls that are part of our African Diaspora communities. We celebrate their boldness and their passionate for justice and generation equality.
AWAU is excited to amplify the voices of girls in our communities and join them in upholding their rights and freedoms. We are so proud to have Shania (16) and Naya (6), share with us what it means to be bold as a girl and share their hopes for the future. Both these young African girls are an example of the courage and boldness that girls have, asserting their power as innovative thinkers and change-makers to reimagine a brighter vision for their future.
Check out Shania’s inspiring video which has been selected to feature in the Virtual Girls Speak Out Conference for the International Day of the Girl Summit: https://dayofthegirlsummit.org/
Check out Naya’s inspiring video for International Day of the Girl below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ_lDhStPQ4
Happy International Day of the Girl!