Invisible Children
By admin May 2, 2017

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Statistics analyzed in a recent report by Plan International illustrate data that was used to formulate the question, “When does a child stop being a child and become a girl or a boy?” According to the World Bank, within the next decade about 40 million young adults in sub-Saharan Africa will drop out of school. About 42 percent of boys in sub-Saharan Africa are expected to enter school compared to the 33 percent of girls expected. According to Plan International, “researchers want governments to change the way they gather data and pay more attention to the reasons why [girls drop out of school more than boys] in order to fight gender inequality.”

Within the ages of 15 and below, statistics usually don’t differentiate between boys and girls, thus erasing the gender disparities and making it more difficult to specify the needs of young girls. Around the world, 47 percent of the 32 million girls who were not attending school in 2014 are expected to never attend, compared to the 35 percent of the 29 million boys. Approximately 62 million girls are not in school, globally. According to Plan International’s CEO Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, they “have fairly good statistics that show us that there are more girls that drop out of secondary (high) school than boys, but what we don’t know is why they do it.”

Organizations similar to Plan International have begun analyzing particular reasons as to why girls tend to drop out of school rather than boys and found three root causes: child marriage, menstruation, and poverty. Some girls may attend school for a week or a month, take time off, and then go back and attend for another week or another month, thus falling behind in their courses, leaving them to drop out entirely. Other key factors include: money, forced marriage, and pregnancy. Plan International has specified young women in Zimbabwe to analyze trends and gather data. Nearly 81 percent of Zimbabwean girls had to drop out/leave school as some point, either temporarily or permanently.

Plan International has also noticed that the lack of job opportunities for young women without an education in Zimbabwe leave them to turn to prostitution. Ultimately, Plan’s report is a “wake-up call” for governments in bridging the gender gap, in accordance with the UN’s Global Sustainable Development Goals including gender equality. Day-to-day agendas for boys and girls differ, with a recent report by UNICEF seeing that “gender roles forming already early on and young girls bearing the greater burden of household chores” creates a gap far further than education. Globally, girls between the ages of 5-14 spend 40 percent more time (160 million more hours a day) on household chores and collecting water and firewood than boys. Countries with the largest gaps include Burkina Faso, Yemen, and Somalia.

Across the world, there are 1.1 billion girls under the age of 18. A quarter of them live in Africa while half live in Asia. According to UNICEF, girls in Africa will grow in number by 30 percent by 2030. Albrectsen says governments need to target the blind spots in gender data for young women under the age of 15. Indeed, “why in the eyes of data do children typically become men and women at the age of 15?” Possibly data has not been gathered on pregnancies and sexual activity under the age of 15, Albrectsen states. Governments may not have adequate funding to support data research in these areas, but Albrectsen says it would ultimately be worth every penny and “have a bigger impact.”


Read More:

Invisible girls: can data help fight gender inequality?

Plan International: Counting The Invisible Girls

Girls spend 160 million more hours than boys doing household chores everyday – UNICEF

Out-of-School Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Policy Perspective

Thanks for sharing !

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