UN marks 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl
The United Nations marks the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl on Tuesday, noting that while the issues facing girls internationally have received more attention over the past decade, there is still a long way to go.
In the past 10 years there has been increased attention – from governments, policymakers and the general public – on issues that predominantly affect girls and more opportunities for their voices to be heard on the global stage.
But investment in their rights remains limited and girls continue to confront many challenges to fulfilling their potential. Global crises such as climate change, war and conflict, and Covid-19 only exacerbate these challenges.
“With adversity, however, comes resourcefulness, creativity, tenacity, and resilience,” the UN said on its website. “The world’s 600 million adolescent girls have shown time and time again that given the skills and the opportunities, they can be the changemakers driving progress in their communities, building back stronger for all, including women, boys and men.”
The UN called for including adolescent girls in local decision-making; increasing resources for inclusive education; and providing young girls with targeted services, particularly during times of crisis.
FRANCE 24 takes a closer look at some of the issues facing girls around the world.
Correspondant Gaelle Borgia says child marriage is a “scourge” in Madagascar and remains traditional among some ethnic groups, noting that three pregnant women out of 10 are under 18 years of age.
Young girls are seen as an “economic burden” on a household, Borgia says, but starting from the age of 12 or 13 they are seen as “a new source of income for the family” to be “sacrificed to allow the family to survive”.
The situation only worsens in times of crisis – whether political, natural disaster or pandemic – when “the first victims are the young girls”.
A class trip in France aims to show girls that science and technology are sectors that welcome girls as well as boys. Women working in science and manufacturing have started meeting with female students to deconstruct stereotypes and encourage more of them to enter what some might see as traditionally “masculine” fields.
The mathematics gap between boys and girls has only worsened since President Emmanuel Macron introduced reforms of high school education: before the reforms, 44 percent of female students chose advanced math; the following year this fell to 24 percent.
Graciara Da Silva coaches a football (soccer) league called the Stars of Mandela in one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest favela complexes. Da Silva got pregnant at 16 and is hoping to encourage her young players to avoid the same fate. Instead, she wants them to have the skills and energy to achieve their dreams.
One of Da Silva’s young footballers in now 6. Her mother, who had her at the age of 14, hopes her daughter will not follow her own example.
But in many ways, Da Silva is fighting a one-woman battle. There is still no government program in this favela for child assistance or family planning.