Mr. Speaker, over one billion people on the planet live in extreme poverty. Of these people, 70% are women and girls, representing the poorest of the poor.
In many regions of the world, girls face unique barriers to survival and development simply because they are girls. They are more likely to suffer from malnutrition, to be denied access to education, to be forced into child marriages, to be subject to violence and to be victims of slave labour or trafficking.
On March 24, 2011, a motion was unanimously passed in the House declaring that Canada would lead the effort to have the United Nations declare September 22 as the international day of the girl.
An international day of the girl would focus the world's attention on the importance of girls' rights. It would serve as a foundation for advocacy to ensure that girls get the investment and recognition they deserve, not only as citizens but as powerful agents of change.
Today, September 22, I stand with my colleagues to pay tribute to the girls in our lives, the girls of our great nation and the girls across the globe.