The digital world of the girl child

International Day of the Girl Child.

Since 2012, October 11th has marked the International Day of the Girl Child. Meant to empower and raise the voices of young girls globally, this day is key to the achievement of gender equality, the fifth goal of the seventeen sustainability goals adopted by UN member nations in 2015. The campaign focuses on adolescent girls, to ensure they have the foundations of an educated and healthy life, to empower them to make changes and ensure a better future for themselves and others.


Some statistics from across the globe:
  • Girls in conflict are 2.4 times more likely to be out of school than boys
  • 41,000 girls under 18 are married around the world every day
  • At least 500 million girls don’t have access to the resources they need to manage their periods

All statistics are taken from Plan International UK.

To some, these statistics may not be shocking. It’s easy to think that gender inequality is more limited within the UK. Below are some statistics that show there is still a large amount of discrimination within education which continues to hold young girls back from achieving their full potential.


Some statistics from the UK:
  • 68% of UK girls feel held back by harmful gender stereotypes
  • 52% have been told they could not do something that boys or men are allowed to do
  • 25% say they have noticed boys being taught or encouraged to study different subjects than girls

All statistics are taken from Plan International UK.


The global internet user gender gap is growing, from 11 per cent in 2013 to 17 per cent in 2019, and widest in the world’s least developed countries at 43 per cent.”

UN, International Day of the Girl Child


This year’s theme works under the title of “Digital generation. Our generation.” With the rising internet user gender gap, this years theme is more important than ever. The pandemic saw platforms like Zoom and Google Classroom grow massively to support students, employees, and employers.  With the increasing importance of digitality, therefore, the consequences of the digital divide have been both accelerated and exacerbated during Covid-19. Not only does the divide cut girls off from accessing practical help, guidance and education, but it also reduces their chances of gaining tech-related jobs and skills.


“In middle and higher-income countries, only 14 per cent of girls who were top performers in science or mathematics expected to work in science and engineering compared to 26 per cent of top-performing boys.”

UN, International Day of the Girl Child.


Investing in a girls’ education has a huge impact on their lives. According to ActionAid, girls who stay in school are “more likely to support themselves, look after their health, avoid early marriage and pregnancy and contribute to society.”


To mark the importance of their commitment to the issue, the UN has established the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation. Action coalitions drive conversations between governments and within society, helping to spark change.


According to the forum for the coalition, they do this through several means:

– financing

– transforming gender norms (including by engaging men and boys)

– law and policy reform

– education

– gender data and accountability

– addressing intersectional discrimination

– focusing on systemic change by addressing structural inequalities.


For more information on the coalition, see here.


How to get involved

– Share, post and like stories of girls and women in the tech education and industry.

– Sponsor a girl with ActionAid, here.

– Actively involve yourselves in, and start, conversations on change and inequality.


Image: Nithi Anand on Flickr with license.

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