Girl Force: Unscripted and Unstoppable
Since 2012, 11 October has been marked as the International Day of the Girl. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
Nearly 25 years ago, some 30,000 women and men from nearly 200 countries arrived in Beijing, China for the Fourth World Conference on Women, determined to recognize the rights of women and girls as human rights. The conference culminated in the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action : the most comprehensive policy agenda for the empowerment of women. The Platform of Action nine indicators for girls are:
1. Eliminate all forms of discrimination against girls
2. Eliminate negative cultural attitudes and practices against girls.
3. Promote and protect the rights of girls and increase awareness of their needs and potential.
4. Eliminate discrimination against girls in education, skills development and training.
5. Eliminate discrimination against girls in health and nutrition.
6. Eliminate the economic exploitation of child labour and protect young girls at work.
7. Eradicate violence against girls.
8. Promote girls awareness of and participation in social, economic and political life.
9. Strengthen the role of the family in improving the status of girls
In the years following, women pressed this agenda forward, leading global movements on issues ranging from sexual and reproductive health rights to equal pay. More girls today are attending and completing school, fewer are getting married or becoming mothers while still children, and more are gaining the skills they need to excel in the future world of work.
In his massage for the day, UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said “We need to uphold the equal rights, voices and influence of girls in our families, communities and nations. Girls can be powerful agents of change, and nothing should keep them from participating fully in all areas of life.”
For this year’s International Day of the Girl, the theme is “GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable”. Nowadays, girls are proving they are unscripted and unstoppable.
Although lots of progress have been achieved, still many of the commitments made to girls are left unfulfilled. Here are some facts that girls and women are still facing around the world:
- Each year, 12 million girls under 18 are married. 130 million girls worldwide are still out of school.
- Approximately 15 million adolescent girls aged 15-19 have experience forced sex. In the vast majority of countries, adolescent girls are most at risk of forced sex by a current/former husband, partner or boyfriend.
- Adult women account for 51 per cent of all human trafficking victims detected globally. Women and girls together account for 71 per cent, with girls representing nearly three out of every four child trafficking victims. Nearly three out of every four trafficked women and girls are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
- It is estimated that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner (not including sexual harassment) at some point in their lives.
- At least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in the 30 countries. In most of these countries, the majority of girls were cut before age five.
- Globally, one out of three students (aged 11 and 13 to 15 years) have been bullied by their peers at school. girls are more likely to experience psychological bullying, particularly being ignored or left out or subject to nasty rumours. Girls also report being made fun of because of how their face or body looks more frequently than boys.
- One in 10 women in the European Union report having experienced cyber-harassment since the age of 15 (including having received unwanted, offensive sexually explicit emails or SMS messages, or offensive, inappropriate advances on social networking sites).
- Over 700 million women alive today were married when they were under 18, and of those some 250 million were married before they were 15.
- Globally, women make up just 23.3% of parliamentarians.
- Women spend at least twice as much time as men on domestic work, and when all work – paid and unpaid – is considered, women work longer hours than men.