This year the date of Simchat Torah coincides with the UN International Day of the Girl! Simchat Torah, the Jewish holy day on October 11 2020, marks the conclusion and then beginning of the next cycle of public Torah readings, heralding a fresh start! Would that such an optimistic opportunity were programmed into the lives of today’s girls worldwide!
Globally there are estimated to be more than 1.1 billion girls under age 18, many suffering as a result of COVID-19. The rise in family violence, particularly victimising girls and women, the loss of education, loss of income, the growth of child labour and the closure of women’s health services have all contributed this year to more stressful lives for girls and young women.
UNICEF, UNESCO and UN Women will launch their annual Day of the Girl campaigns with the optimistic theme My Voice, Our Equal Future.
Their aims will be:
- Live free from gender-based violence.
- Learn new skills toward the futures they choose
- Lead as a generation of activists accelerating social change
25 years ago the Fourth World Conference on Women adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, an agenda progressing Gender Equality.
The Platform for Action specifically calls on the global community to:
- Eliminate all forms of discrimination against girls.
- Eliminate negative cultural attitudes and practices against girls.
- Promote and protect the rights of girls and increase awareness of their needs and potential.
- Eliminate discrimination against girls in education, skills development and training.
- Eliminate discrimination against girls in health and nutrition.
- Eliminate the economic exploitation of child labour and protect young girls at work.
- Eradicate violence against girls.
- Promote girls’ awareness of and participation in social, economic and political life.
- Strengthen the role of the family in improving the status of girls.
As today’s women, ICJW and our 35 affiliated Jewish Women’s organisations around the world, join wholeheartedly in promoting the UN 2020 theme for International Day of the Girl: My Voice, Our Equal Future.
Robyn Lenn OAM – Chair, ICJW Status of Women Committee.