In light of yesterday’s announcement that Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize, today’s observance of the International Day of the Girl Child has taken on a significant new meaning.

The recognition of the Pakistani child education activist’s work demonstrates the growing global awareness of issues surrounding girls’ human rights. We at WILPF hope that, by shining the spotlight on Malala’s achievements and the promotion of girls’ human rights, today’s International Day of the Girl Child will receive more attention and involvement than ever before.

Read on to get caught up on the basics about the movement and why it is important.

What is the International Day of the Girl Child?

Since 2012, the United Nations marks 11 October as the “International Day of the Girl Child”. According to UN Women, the day “promotes girls’ human rights, highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and addresses the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the world.”

This year, the theme is “Empowering adolescent girls: Ending the cycle of violence.”

Why is the day important?

The day is important because it gives the chance to the widen discussion on the intersecting rights of the child and rights of women and girls.

Because of this year’s theme, there has been a particular focus among activists and civil society members to talk about gender based violence, further awareness, and seek opportunities for girls’ empowerment. This includes discussing the role of education, and how empowering girls can prevent violence and end child marriage.

What can we do about it?

Civil society raised awareness in a wide variety of ways, from fake blogs imitating child marriage to aiming to educate 10000 girls across the globe.

At WILPF, we have a special network, Young WILPF, which is dedicated to girls and young people. This is a global movement of young women committed to peace and disarmament. Young WILPFers participate in the work of WILPF all over the world, and initiate and run their own projects with the support of other young WILPFers.

You can get involved in a number of ways. To start, why not share this nifty infographic with your friends, participate in the official Google Hangout, or comment here!

WILPF would like to extend our congratulations to Malala for the well-deserved recognition of her tireless work to promote the education of girls and in this way break the cycle of violence against girls. We hope that the award, along with the celebration of the third annual International Day of the Girl Child, underlines the significance of girls’ human rights for human rights and peace in general.