"This is a critical time for the girls of our world. It is a time for the protection and assertion of rights, a time to listen hard and speak louder, no matter how difficult; to call out the continuing imbalances of power; to band together and take a stand on the changes that must happen so that girls and women are heard and their experiences are taken seriously. It is a time to act, together with men and boys, on the issues that will determine a lived equality for all, central to which is the ending of violence against women and girls."
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"Many girls flee their homes with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing," says Apaisaria Kiwori, as she instructs the designated cooks to stir the pots of red kidney beans and rice for dinner.
Ainuru Altybaeva serves as a Member of Parliament in Kyrgyzstan, and has been an activist for women's empowerment for over 10 years. She was the initiator of a law on toughening penalties for bride kidnapping, and a vocal participant of the national UNiTE to End Violence against Women and Girls
Lamija Gutić is only 16 years old, and on her way to building technology solutions for a better world. An inspiration for many girls and women across the region, on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child, she talks about what the SDGs mean for her.
"Some people say that it is shameful for girls to go to work or go to school. These are old traditions and conventions." These are the words of Alan and Israa, two Syrian girls who, through a UN Women-supported training and community centre in Beirut, Lebanon, are learning how to repair mobile phones.
Statement by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka on the International Day of the Girl Child, 11 October 2016.