Director of the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign Hails Congressional Passage of the Girls Count Act as a Win for Adolescent Girls Everywhere

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Bipartisan legislation heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

Following House passage of the Girls Count Act, Melissa Hillebrenner, Director of Girl Up, welcomed congressional passage as a win for adolescent girls around the world. According to UNICEF, there are 230 million children under the age of five whose births were never officially recorded. This legislation supports programs in developing countries that improve birth registration for girls and boys, and promotes policies that prevent discrimination against girls.

“The U.S. House of Representatives followed the Senate’s lead and took an important step to help children everywhere reach their full potential. Failing to register children at birth makes them invisible to their government, stifling their opportunities for the future. Young girls in particular are disproportionately affected. Congressional passage of the Girls Count Act ensures all children have a nationally recognized proof of birth, helping guarantee that the rights of adolescent girls are protected and creating a brighter future for all of us.

“The UN Foundation’s Girl Up campaign has been fighting to make the Girls Count Act a reality, and I am thrilled that this vote brings us one step closer. Thousands of our passionate youth advocates have written, called, and met with their Members of Congress to secure passage of this legislation. This vote is a testament to their work and dedication.

“I commend the leadership of Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) for introducing the Girls Count Act in March, and Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Chris Smith (R-NJ), and Brad Sherman (D-CA) for introducing companion legislation, H.R. 2100, in the House.

“When a girl is counted by her government, there is a greater chance that she will have access to education, health and social services, and later in life be able to vote, work, and own property. The Girls Count Act helps make this a reality for girls everywhere, and I look forward to President Obama signing this important legislation into law.”

Following unanimous passage in the House and Senate, the Girls Count Act now heads to the President’s desk for his signature. This legislation is supported by a number of organizations, including Girl Up, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, and World Vision.

Jonelle Kelly
Communications Officer, Girl Up
W: 202.370.8090

About Girl Up
Girl Up, the United Nations Foundation’s adolescent girl campaign, supports the empowerment of girls everywhere. Since its launch in 2010, the campaign has funded UN programs that promote the health, safety, education, and leadership of girls in developing countries and built a community of nearly half a million passionate advocates – including Girl Up Global Advocates Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan and Latin American business leader Angélica Fuentes. Our youth leaders, representing more than 850 Girl Up Clubs in 66 countries, stand up, speak up, and rise up to support the hardest to reach girls living in places where it is hardest to be a girl. Learn more at

About The United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit

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Jonelle Kelly
Girl Up
+1 202-370-8090
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