Hardy Girls Healthy Women, along with our allies at the Maine Women’s Policy Center and the Maine Women’s Fund, is leading an effort to get Maine officials to proclaim October 11th as Day of the Girl.  The United Nations has recently established October 11th  as the annual International Day of the Girl and we want to bring that effort to the local level here in Maine.  Today, there are many more opportunities for girls but serious safety and equality issues still persist.  We believe that an official proclamation can help raise awareness about this girls’ rights day and increase attention on issues that are particularly pertinent to Maine girls.

To date, Mayor Michael Brennan of Portland, Mayor Karen Heck of Waterville, Mayor Bill Stokes of Augusta, and Mayor Charlotte Warren of Hallowell have signed on to the proclamation.

Bring the Day of the Girl to your community!  Visit the Day of the Girl website (www.dayofthegirl.org) and download their “how-to” packet.  Get in touch with your town or city officials and ask them to proclaim October 11th as Day of the Girl and let us know how it goes.

Here’s a sample proclamation similar to what we’ve used with the officials named above:

SAMPLE PROCLAMATION:

WHEREAS, supporting and developing girls’ voices and leadership is a key component to the empowerment of girls in Maine, the U.S. and world; and

WHEREAS nearly half of Maine girls are involved in civic activities, yet girls’ leadership aspirations peak at age eight; and,

WHEREAS, a majority of girls in the U.S. say that they experience stereotypes that limit their ability to be themselves and more than one-third of girls feel constrained by these stereotypes, saying they do not like them;

WHEREAS, the most common mental health problems affecting girls, such as eating disorders, lowered self-esteem, and depression, are linked to the media’s sexualization of girls; and between the ages of 12-15, the number of girls experiencing depression triples, which is a rate three times that of boys; and,

WHEREAS, gender-based violence is pervasive, with approximately 1 in 3 girls experiencing physical, emotion, or verbal abuse from a dating partner; more than half of all sexual assaults of females in the U.S. happen before age 18; and at least 1 in 3 women is a survivor of some form of gender-based violence; and,

WHEREAS, equality and universal access to education for every girl and boy are among the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals supported by 189 countries including the United States; and

WHEREAS, the United Nations established October 11 as the annual International Day of the Girl Child supported and co-sponsored by the United States and 97 other countries; and

WHEREAS, The “Day of the Girl” campaign calls on communities across the globe to recognize that girls worldwide as well as girls in Maine face many injustices such as discrimination, gender stereotypes, and lack of education; and empowers girls to fight for their rights; and

WHEREAS,  City of Waterville, Maine joins Hardy Girls Healthy Women, Maine Women’s Policy Center,  Maine Women’s Fund, and other organizations, to support increased  girls’ participation in sports, science and math-related activities, high school graduation rates, leadership and civic engagement activities, and providing equal opportunities for all girls by speaking out against gender-based injustices, celebrating all girls’ potential, and encouraging all girls to pursue their dreams;

THEREFORE BE IT PROCLAIMED that I, Karen Heck, Mayor, hereby do proclaim October 11, 2012 as the Day of the Girl in the City of Waterville, Maine and encourage all residents to provide support and encouragement for girls to achieve their fullest potential.