October 11th is International Day of the Girl Child. What a fine opportunity to remember what we want for all young girls around the world - autonomy, independence, opportunity, safety and respect. According to the UN the day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. Sounds good to me.
I find it a worrying trend how little our global society values our girls. In my day to day life I worry that there is so much focus on physical appearance that we are losing one of our most valuable resources - tomorrows strong, confident women. Women who are happy in their own skin, no matter how that skin looks.
We must encourage our girls not to overly concern themselves with their physical appearance. We must encourage them to find their inner beauty and power. Physical beauty fades and if that's where our girls find their value, then they will always be caught in a trap, chasing an elusive ghost that will eventually leave them behind. Inner beauty, however, never fades. In fact it's quite the opposite, it deepens, it grows and remains visible no matter our age. It radiates, it attracts and it makes the world a better place.
The most beautiful woman is one who is true to herself and has been educated by her society to recognise this intangible sense of self.
So today we celebrate our young girls, our future women. Let's encourage them to reach high, to find their way, to try and to ultimately thrive. The world will be a better place.