Roscommon Fianna Fáil Senator Terry Leyden has marked the first ever International Day of the Girl in the Seanad today.
The United Nations declared October 11, 2012 as the International Day of the Girl Child.  The occasion is being celebrated today throughout the world today with inspirational displays, political forums and events at locations like the Empire State Building, the London Eye and Main Street Roscommon.
Senator Leyden said, “This occasssion will help to promote equal treatment and opportunities for girls around the world in areas such as law, nutrition, health care, education, training, and freedom from violence and abuse.  I am delighted that Roscommon town is getting involved in the celebrations and has set such a high standard.”
The Fianna Fáil Senator explained that the aim of the International Day of the Girl is to create an awareness of girl-specific issues. Around the world, girls are three times more likely to be malnourished than boys. 70% of all people living on less than $1 per day are female. Each year roughly two million girls between the ages of 5 and 15 are trafficked, sold or coerced into the sex trade. Of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70% are girls.
Senator Leyden added, “Worldwide girls carry the burden of poverty more than anyone, and 75 million girls are currently denied an education. This isn’t fair and it isn’t right.
“In classrooms around the world, children raise their hand if they want to be heard. It is a symbol for education and the empowerment that comes with it.  Over 150 students in Roscommon town from the Convent of Mercy Primary school, Roscommon Community College and Convent of Mercy Secondary School gathered today in the Square, Roscommon town with the wider community to celebrate the first International Day of the Girl. At 1.30pm the students, wearing pink wristbands, raised their hands to show their belief that every girl has the right to education,” he said.
Today Plan (a global children’s charity) is asking people throughout the world to raise their hand if they believe every girl deserves an education.