11 October 2020, is the UN International observed Day of the Girl Child. Did you know that there over 1.1 billion girls around the World under 18? Whilst many young women in 2020 have the opportunity to work towards realising their full potential as female leaders, entrepreneurs and some of the greatest change-makers the World has ever seen, this is still unjustly and frustratingly not a reality for a large number of girls worldwide.

It has been 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – the global agenda for advancing the rights and empowerment of women and girls. The Generation Equality campaign was also launched earlier this year which engenders bold action on gender equality across a multi-partner movement. The mission of the movement sets a clear narrative and highlights the necessary actions and and solutions related to the needs and opportunities of adolescent girls worldwide.

Under the theme, “My Voice, Our Equal Future”, we have an opportunity to learn from what girls see as the change they want, and to put into action the solutions that they are leading and demanding.

As adolescent girls assert their power as change-makers, International Day of the Girl 2020 will focus on their demands to:

  • Live free from gender-based violence, harmful practices, and HIV and AIDS
  • Learn new skills towards the futures they choose
  • Lead as a generation of activists accelerating social change

So you might ask, “what does gender equality have to do with the environment?”

Well, according to an Irish Aid report on gender equality and the environment: 

  • Women perform two-thirds of the World’s working hours, produce half of the World’s food, earn only 10% of the World’s income and own less than 1% of the World’s property. 
  • Women are more reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods than men, as they do not have equitable access to alternatives such as wage labour and the security and benefits these provide. 
  • Degraded environments mean that women must walk further to collect water and fuel wood. As a result, their access to education and other productive activities may be reduced. 
  • Due to their socially constructed roles and existing inequalities, women are more vulnerable to the impacts of environmental and natural disasters such as drought, floods, and cyclones than men. 

On International Day of the Girl Child Green-Schools are encouraging you to explore Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality, in your classroom and aid in achieving gender equality and empower all women and girls. 

Join the Green-Schools and the Global Goals book club by starting with Razia’s Ray of Hope, a book about the power of education and realising gender equality. Associated resources and activities can be found here. 

The World’s largest lesson has more lesson plans and ideas on how to teach about gender equality. 

Additionally, there are some great videos available to teach about Goal 5 for primary level students, here you can find Thomas the Tank engine explaining this goal. Or if you feel like teaching this Goal through dance look no further than this video, inspired by the Spice Girls! Or perhaps a more modern Beyonce inspired video, showcasing #FreedomForGirls and #WhatIReallyReallyWant which includes some alarming statistics.

One last video we would like to share is a child social experiment created in Norway a few years ago which you can show your students or you might even be able to recreate to teach about the importance of Gender Equality. 

Happy International Day of the Girl Child!