Girl Up in JijigaPhoto credit: Jiro Ose/United Nations Foundation


October 11 is International Day of the Girl – a day adopted by the United Nations to recognize the unique struggles girls face globally, as well as the potential they have to change the world for the better.

Girls and women more often bear the consequences of poverty, lack of health care, lack of education, climate change, and other inequalities. Yet when girls are safe, healthy, educated, and empowered, they earn more, have healthier families, and grow economies.

As many people say in the development sector, educating girls is the right thing to do; it’s also the smart thing to do.

Empowering girls is a top priority for the United Nations and the UN Foundation. In celebration of International Day of the Girl, our Girl Up campaign has launched #GIRLHERO to encourage people to share their girl heroes on social media.

Visit to join the movement and get inspired with these eight quotes:

  • “We know now that without gender equality and a full role for women in society, in the economy, in governance, we will not be able to achieve the world we hoped for.” – Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women
  • “We’re never, ever, ever going to be able to fly as high unless we’re both in support of each other” – Emma Watson, actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador
  • “Removing the barriers that keep women and girls on the margins of economic, social, cultural, and political life must be a top priority for us all – businesses, governments, the United Nations, and civil society.” – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
  • “Girls are one of the most powerful forces for change in the world: When their rights are recognized, their needs are met, and their voices are heard, they drive positive change in their families, their communities, and the world.” – Kathy Calvin, United Nations Foundation President & CEO
  • “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back. We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave – to embrace the strength within themselves and realize their full potential.” – Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize winner
  • “Business as usual with women left out of the decisions which affect them, and with their particular needs and circumstances overlooked in the outcomes, must not continue.” – Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
  • “I call upon women to raise each other up, to make each other’s welfare a priority, and to never shame a woman for the choices she makes.” – Frieda Pinto, actress and women’s rights activist
  • “There are more than 500 million adolescent girls living in the developing world today. Every one of them can potentially help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, with ripple effects multiplying across her society.” – Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)