A note from Hannah Diviney, Editor-in-Chief of Missing Perspectives

by Hannah Diviney
Tuesday 11 October 2022

Hannah Diviney smiling

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl. A decade of celebrating the 600 million adolescent girls and changemakers around the world. A decade of committing to investment in the possibilities of girlhood, a definition that should and does include all who identify as such. A decade of promises and powerful words but to be honest, they haven’t always been supported by meaningful action and although we are incredibly excited and grateful to be marking this day with MECCA, we wouldn’t be doing our job as a media company if we didn’t point out how far we still have to go.

That being said, this last decade has been a time of immense change and progress. We have seen increased attention on issues facing young women and girls around the world, in part motivated by the way that social media platforms have given young women space to be heard, their voices amplified by the click of a button. More and more young female voices have been platformed and heard on the international stage. Many brave young women have been invited to international forums, influencing policy, advocating for change and taking up leadership positions. We have seen incredible young women take centre-stage in conversations about global issues like Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg.

However, 10 years on, we still see young women and girls around the world silenced, being victims of violence in a myriad of destructive forms and facing a clear lack of opportunity when compared with their male peers. Girls are still dropping out of school because of period poverty, are set to be  disproportionately impacted by climate change, and continue being prevented from accessing education. COVID-19 has only worsened the burdens facing women and girls around the world.

Australia is no exception. The chasm of opportunities lost for young women in this country is immense, particularly if that young woman identifies as a member of a further marginalized community. For First Nations women in particular, the structural inequalities and lack of representation they face has a resounding echo. That’s why projects like the Australian Human Rights Commission's Wiyi Yani U Thangani, headed by Commissioner June Oscar, is so important because it elevates the lived experience and often unheard stories of young Indigenous women.

We write this note as a means of holding not only ourselves accountable, but also everyone who reads it. The place we are in right now is better than the past we have come from but it is still nowhere near good enough. Enormous change still has to happen at every single level of every single system and structure the world relies on in 2022. It is not enough to celebrate this day, because doing so is a distinct marker of privilege.

The women who most need the world’s support don’t have the luxury of thinking about or even necessarily knowing that International Day of the Girl exists. They’re too busy using every ounce of their energy and resources to survive. To see another sunrise. So for those of us who can, let’s get to work dismantling and rebuilding the world as so many women and girls need it to be.