The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Statement by the Press Secretary on the First Annual International Day of the Girl

On this first International Day of the Girl, the United States reaffirms our abiding commitment to promoting the rights and status of girls here in the United States and around the world.  We know that when girls have access to education and health care, are safe from violence, and have equal opportunities to reach their full potential, families and communities are more likely to thrive and countries are more likely to prosper.  That is why the Obama Administration has worked to ensure access to quality health care for all our young people; to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls, including human trafficking; and to promote gender equity in education, including in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. 

We are reminded of the urgency of this work by the outrageous attack this week by the Pakistani Taliban on 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai.  Malala’s courage and determination as a champion for girls’ education and opportunity stands in stark contrast to the cowards who seek to silence her.  Like so many Pakistanis and people of goodwill around the world, the American people are shocked by this deplorable shooting of a girl who was targeted because she dared to attend school, and we reaffirm our commitment to working with the Pakistani people toward a future that delivers progress, justice and peace to all its citizens. 

As we pray for Malala’s recovery, we honor her bravery, we celebrate the accomplishments of girls here in the United States and throughout the world, and we salute the leadership of all those working to advance gender equality.  On this International Day of the Girl, we pledge to carry on our work and keep advancing our shared vision of a world where our daughters enjoy the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons.

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