October 11 is the International Day of the Girl
Girls around the world are more likely to be victims of violence and less likely to receive education. Girls who receive less schooling are far more likely to marry as children, before the age of 15. Girls are less likely to learn to read and write. By 2015 it is estimated that 64% of the world's illiterate will be female.
Females are also 3 times more likely to be malnourished than are boys.
Girls face challenges in our country also. In Canada, young woman are the victims of dating violence ten times more often than young men and are 70% more likely to face intimidation from online predators. Girls and young women suffer from mental illnesses like depression twice as often as boys and young men.
These are some of the amazing girls in fiction:
Anne Shirley: The heroine of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables was no shrinking violet, shocking the citizens of Avonlea with her antics and her irrepressible spirit.
Flavia de Luce: The main character in the mystery novels of Alan Bradley, Flavia is a precocious 11-year-old girl whose intelligence, determination and encyclopedic knowledge of chemistry allows her to solve crimes.
Jane Eyre: Orphaned at a young age, the protagonist of Charlotte Bronte's novel, is strong, intelligent and self-reliant. Her beliefs in justice, human dignity and social equality set her apart from others in Victorian England.
Lyra Belacqua: In Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, the headstrong and intelligent Lyra finds herself playing a crucial role in a cosmic war.
Scout Finch: The narrator and protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout must come to terms with the racism that pervades her hometown when her father defends a black man accused of raping a white woman.
There are lots of wonderful girls in fiction--Nancy Drew, the March sisters, Hermione Granger among others. Ask library staff for more suggestions.