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International Day of the Girl Child 2020: Elevating the voices of girls everywhere

OPSEU Provincial Women's Committee - SEFPO Comite provincial des femmes logo
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Every year, on October 11, we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize the rights of girls and highlight the many challenges faced by girls around the world. This year’s theme – ‘My voice, our equal future’ – focuses on elevating the voices of girls in order to achieve true gender equality. 

“Our society becomes stronger from the contributions of female leaders,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “We must work to remove all obstacles to the success of girls, and ensure they have every opportunity to fulfill their potential.” 

It is estimated that the world is currently home to over one billion girls under 18 years of age. Of this number, nearly 30 million are not in school, 12 million are married before the age of 18, and approximately 16 million girls become young mothers between the ages of 15 to 19. The question we must ask – what can we do to protect and nurture the potential of these girls? 

Organizations like Plan International Canada have been working towards making the world a better place for children for over 80 years. Their ongoing ‘Because I’m a Girl’ initiative shines a spotlight on the fact that girls around the world continue to be denied basic human rights and works to achieve gender equality.  

Removing the root causes of gender inequality and barriers that keep girls from reaching their full potential is a key focus for OPSEU/SEFPO’s Provincial Women’s Committee. 

“We’ve seen strength and courage from our province’s girls during this pandemic,” said Dianne Clarabut, Chair of OPSEU/SEFPO’s Provincial Women’s Committee (PWC). “They’re making an impact daily in their communities, from helping deliver food to seniors to making reusable face masks for essential workers.” 

OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida reaffirmed the union leadership’s commitment to supporting PWC in this ongoing focus.  “Making sure that our girls here in Canada and around the world are supported and have access to the education and opportunities they need, can only lead to positive outcomes for our society,” said Almeida. “With the right kind of support, the sky’s the limit for these up and coming powerhouses.”