All around the world, young girls face immense challenges, from being forcibly married off at young ages to distorted depictions of beauty in the media, to poverty. To call attention to the plights of girls everywhere, the United Nations established October 11 as the International Day of the Girl.

The Girl Scouts of the USA are celebrating this year’s Day of the Girl by announcing the 10 National Gold Award Girl Scouts chosen from thousands of Gold Award Girl Scouts across the country. To earn the Gold Award, high school-aged girls in the Girl Scouts must complete a project that has both an immediate and a lasting impact on their community and the world. Project areas of focus can range from STEM to the fine arts, and can lead to college scholarship offers for the girls who achieve the Gold.

According to a statement sent to Brit + Co, this year’s National Gold Award recipients worked on projects related to a broad array of urgent matters: unnecessary plastic straws; human rights; mental health education; pollinator endangerment; menstrual health resources; art therapy; literacy; noise-induced hearing loss; girls’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and veteran visibility and appreciation.

One of the Girl Scouts who will be awarded the National Gold Award this evening is Sarah M. of Central Texas. Sarah’s project focused on the way menstruation sometimes stops girls who live in poverty from going to school. She traveled to Bolivia, the press release says, and led workshops with local women and girls on how to sew reusable menstrual pads. The press release says “hundreds of girls” participated in the workshops, which provided them with the menstrual products they need to keep attending classes even if they have their period.

Another Girl Scout, Trinity W., wanted to make a difference in young girls who struggle with mental health issues. Trinity raised $3,000 to fund workshops that introduced teen girls with mental health difficulties to art therapy in a program she called “Note 2 Self Art Expression Workshop and Showcase.” The showcase of the teens’ art was on display for people to visit in person and was also shared on social media, reaching a total audience of 1,500 people, according to the release.

Sarah and Trinity will join eight other Girl Scouts tonight to be honored for their Gold Awards and be acknowledged for the hard work that went into their projects.

The Girl Scouts organization is also endorsing former first lady Michelle Obama’s new initiative, the Global Girls Alliance. The Alliance “seeks to empower adolescent girls around the world through education, allowing them to achieve their full potential and transform their families, communities, and countries,” according to its website. The Global Girls Alliance starts off today in celebration of International Day of the Girl.

The theme the UN chose for this year’s Day of the Girl is about preparing girls for the working world, which the Girl Scouts feel fits right in with the path to winning a National Gold Award. Sylvia Acevedo, the CEO of the Girl Scouts organization, said in the statement, “With their incredible aspirations, innovative problem solving, and risk-taking spirit, these girls are exactly the kind of employees 21st-century companies are looking for.”

No doubt the girls worked very hard on their projects. Here’s hoping they get to enjoy some well-deserved time off to relax before they move on to the next challenge.

To join or volunteer for the Girl Scouts, visit

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(Photo by Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images)