4 ways to help girls around the world achieve their dreams

Millions of girls around the world simply don't have the same opportunities to succeed and thrive as boys.


There are too many reasons why girls are held back from reaching their full potential, but some of the unique challenges they face include poor education funding, limited access to menstrual supplies, and difficulty obtaining and using mobile phones and other digital technologies.

International Day of the Girl, an annual event held on Oct. 11, is a United Nations initiative designed to raise awareness of these problems while also promoting girls' empowerment and human rights.

This year, the UN is focusing on ensuring that girls develop the skills they need to be employable in the ever-changing, technology-driven labor market. Almost 1 billion girls and young women lack such skills, according to the Malala Fund's latest report.

But you can do something today to make sure all girls have a brighter, better tomorrow. Whether that means helping to fund a STEM program or supplying girls with school uniforms, you can make a difference.

"Even though sometimes people may think that if they do something small it won’t make a major impact, all those small things eventually come together to create big change," says Zuriel Oduwole, an education advocate, filmmaker, and founder of the Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up Foundation. "So whether you’re an individual or a corporation, there’s always things we can do to help those girls."

Here are four quick and easy ways to support girls on this special day:

1. Donate to nonprofits that support girls' education.

Even if you don't have loads to contribute, any amount of money can help support girls around the world.

2. Provide girls with menstrual supplies.

According to a May 2018 report published by the United Nations Population Fund, girls are more likely to miss school or drop out if they can't manage their periods.

3. Give girls access to mobile phones.

A new report published by Girl Effect and the Vodafone Foundation shows boys are 1.5 times more likely to own a phone and 1.8 times more likely to own a smartphone.

4. Share the hashtags #DayOfTheGirl, #girlsandmobile, and #LeaveNoGirlBehind.

While some critics say hashtag activism is not effective, Oduwole argues otherwise, explaining how sharing experiences and spreading awareness through social media is the first step to making change.