Girls can do any – and every – thing. It is why today, October 11th, 2022, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl (IDG) – a day created to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. Every day millions of girls worldwide face challenges from education to economic growth and development, and most recently, those challenges have been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the pandemic has challenged girls’ education, especially for girls from low-income households and girls in rural areas. Before COVID-19, approximately 130 million girls were not in school, and the global impact of COVID-19 predicted that another 11 million girls would not return after the crisis, leaving them more vulnerable to child marriage, teenage or early pregnancy and gender-based violence.  

The challenges are vast and we see many of them in our own backyard in Los Angeles. 

As the pandemic subsides, the severe impact on girls’ mental health has become clear. In December 2021, the Surgeon General issued a strong warning about the mental health of our youth sharing that suicidal ideation among girls was up 51% last year. 

And now girls and young women face another potential barrier-  government leaders that are actively attempting to restrict their body autonomy and their access to safe abortion. Limiting girls’ decision-making impedes their right to lead fulfilling, safe and healthy lives. 

At Girls Inc. of Los Angeles, we are advocating for policies and practices that advance the rights and opportunities of girls and youth identifying as girls from comprehensive, inclusive and accurate sex education to menstrual equity. 

On the ground, we work with hundreds of girls in systemically under-resourced schools to provide a safe and engaging space for them to tap into their strengths and amplify their talents. We know girls can thrive when they are in a supportive community that creates a sense of belonging and self-worth. Working with girls ages 5-13, we provide mentorship, evidence-based programming and sisterhood centered around our core tenets of “Strong, Smart and Bold.” 

While we continue to advocate for laws that don’t hold girls back, there are things you can do with the girls in your life, and everywhere, to help them rise:


  • Teach media literacy so girls understand how to navigate social media and recognize and question what messages they are receiving from it
  • Create opportunities for girls to play competitive and recreational sports at all age levels 
  • Emphasize the role that good nutrition and physical activity plays in healthy living without focusing on outdated measures of health like the Body Mass Index 


  • Challenge the “dream gap” by exposing girls to women in careers that defy gender stereotypes
  • Provide access programs so girls can get hands-on, minds-on experience in STEM and other career fields 
  • Encourage girls to set aspirational goals and explore what barriers and fears exist that may hold them back


  • Introduce girls to stories of those that challenged conventions and succeeded
  • Help girls identify challenges and solutions to issues in their communities 
  • Encourage girls to take risks and learn from failures or setbacks

When girls see role models or leaders that look like them, it creates confidence. When they can learn directly from them, they see a path forward for themselves. It is time for us all to work together to invest in a future that believes in leadership, rights, freedom, mobility and education for girls to reach their full potential- because every day is International Day of the Girl.