10.10.2013 -


@GirlRising Panelist Chen Sohka

The fulfillment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is also overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: It is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.

The United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2011 voted to designate 11 October as the ‘International Day of the Girl Child'. The day promotes girls' human rights, highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and addresses the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the globe.

The transformative potential of girls’ education has yet to be realized. By investing in girls, we are supporting them as powerful forces for positive global change.

Innovation will be an important strategy in addressing the nature and scale of barriers that girls continue to face and in ensuring they receive an education commensurate with the challenges of the 21st century. As the world evaluates gaps in achieving the global goals for gender equality in education and defines an agenda for post-2015, it is critical that innovation is harnessed to improvise solutions that are not only more creative, but also more effective, efficient, sustainable and just in achieving demonstrable results for improving girls’ education.

In recognition of the importance of creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward, the theme of International Day of the Girl Child for 2013 is this year: Innovating for Girls’ Education.

This year, UNESCO Phnom Penh, in collaboration with Global Campaign for Education Cambodia and Platinum Cineplex, is organizing the film premiere of Girl Rising at Platinum Cineplex on Friday 11 October as the celebration of this important international day. Girl Rising was filmed and directed in 2011 by Academy Award nominee Richard Robins with the support of UNESCO. The movie will be shown in English with Khmer subtitles. It tells nine different stories of nine girls in nine countries. One of the featured girls in the movie is Sokha from Cambodia.  Sokha was a Cambodian child of the dump: Orphaned and forced to pick through garbage to survive. But, through a series of miracles, Sokha finds her way to school – and, like a phoenix, she has risen to become a star student on the brink of a brilliant and once unimaginable future.

There is proof that investing in education, especially for girls, alleviates extreme poverty through securing substantial benefits for health and productivity, as well as democratic participation and women’s empowerment. To unlock education’s transformative power, however, new development goals must go further to ensure that all children benefit equally not only from primary education but also from quality secondary schooling.

Enabling girls to gain an equal position in society is not only the right of girls and a moral duty, but it is essential to breaking poverty. Improving girls' lives has a ripple effect. What is good for them is good for all of us.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Jamie Lee, UNESCO Communication Officer, at: hj.lee@unesco.org

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