The International Day of the Girl Child (11th October 2021) focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
Girls are breaking boundaries and barriers posed by stereotypes and exclusion, including those directed at children with disabilities and those living in marginalized communities. As entrepreneurs, innovators and initiators of global movements, girls are creating a world that is relevant for them and future generations.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in 2015, embody a roadmap for progress that is sustainable and leaves no one behind.
Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is integral to each of the 17 goals. Only by ensuring the rights of women and girls across all the goals will we get to justice and inclusion, economies that work for all, and sustaining our shared environment now and for future generations.
This is Nano Nagle
Praying for women and girls today on this the ‘day of the girl child‘ it is impossible not to recognise that Nano Nagle was a woman very closely in touch with the needs of the people of her time. Needs that were determined by the political and social situation around her, so that the overarching context of her work was in the area of social justice. It is no accident then that the focus of her ministry was in Education.
Today Nano’s evolving legacy continues to invite us to insert the liberating reality of the Gospel into the contemporary world in which we live, enlightening the world around us. Nano Nagle had a preferential option for those made and kept poor. However, her life’s ministry related the Christian vision to the social realities she experienced.
If Nano Nagle were alive today she would respond with practical action. Before her death in 1784, Nano had opened 7 schools for poor children across Cork city, founded an alms-house for poor women, and most notably, founded the Presentation Order, who continue her education and social inclusion work today.
She was a woman who, in her simplicity
Yet dared greatly…
Dared to let herself
Be guided by the spirit of God.
And when He, like some will o’the wisp
on the mountains, led her from the
warmth of what was safe and comfortable,
out past the four walls of what was
“enough” and “reasonable”, away beyond
the security of the familiar
tried and proven,
she followed with laughter in her
heart. For she had caught a glimpse of the
Divine delight in reversing human logic,
in drawing power from weakness,
wisdom from folly,
life from death.
In this lay her strength.
This is NANO NAGLE.
In 1995 at the World Conference on Women in Beijing countries unanimously adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing the rights of not only women but girls. The Beijing Declaration is the first to specifically call out girls’ rights.
On December 19, 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.