The Power of the Adolescent Girl
By admin October 15, 2015

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On December 19th, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared October 11th as the International Day of the Girl Child (Day of the Girl), to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. This year’s theme is “The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.”

Girls of all ages are a particularly vulnerable demographic they face all kinds of social, economic, and political barriers in their lives. Many factors prevent girls from being fully active in their communities including; unwanted pregnancy, forced early marriages, gender-based violence, limited access to education, and poor access to reproductive health services.

On this year’s Day of the Girl, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that “Our task now is to get to work on meeting the SDG targets and making good on our promises to give girls all the opportunities they deserve as they mature to adulthood by 2030.” UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka remarked, “Today is the day when we focus our attention on the Girl Child, but it is not a day in isolation. It is part of a massive and relentless drive towards a world of equality: a Planet 50-50 by 2030.”

Over the past fifteen years, the international community has achieved significant progress in empowering girls. Now, girls in the first decade of life are more likely to enroll in primary school, receive vaccinations, and less likely to suffer from nutrition problems. The UN is still far from reaching its goals, for instance, according to a United Nations report released on Monday, October 12th, less than half of the world’s countries have equal numbers of girls and boys enrolled in school, with not one country in sub-Saharan African achieving gender equality.

To empower girls around the world, more efforts are needed in areas such as investing in high quality education and skill trainings, invest in sexual and reproductive health services, combat early marriage and female genital mutilation, as well as to promote gender-responsive legislation and policies.

The UN and global partners have recently launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next fifteen years. In order to achieve the SDGs the global community will need more commitment from UN agencies, member states, civil society organizations, and private sector stakeholders to work together and empower girls. Investing in adolescent girls is important, both for today and for the future. The potential of girls will have a direct positive impact on advancing gender equality and sustainable development.

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