International Day of the Girl, Canada leading progression

In 2007, Bill Gates was asked if he thought Saudi Arabia could meet its goal of becoming one of the top economies in the world.

Gates responded, “Well if you’re not fully utilizing half the talent in the country, you’re not going to get too close to the top.”

This idea lies behind International Day of the Girl, to be celebrated Oct. 11.

Steadily, communities around the world are realizing that equal treatment and equal opportunities for girls leads to stronger economies, communities, and nations. Canada is at the forefront of this movement; in late March 2011 the House of Commons gave unanimous support to a motion that Canada should lead a campaign at the United Nations for an International Day of the Girl.

This day is fundamental in recognizing the issues that face Canadian girls today.

Minister for the Status of Women, Rona Ambrose declared that in order to address the issues facing Canadian girls, “it will be necessary to explore ways that healthy relationships, good role models and a positive self image can help girls reach their full potential.”

Programs for young girls, such as Girl Guides and Cadets, aim to improve the self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-awareness of girls. Today, girls represent 36 per cent of all cadets in Canada. With programs encouraging girls to become leaders in their community, and with the government’s strong endorsement of equal opportunities and treatment of girls, Canada is on its way to fully utilizing all of the talent in the country.

For more information on International Day of the Girl and what you can do to celebrate Oct. 11 visit

Megan Gerryts, Contributor

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