International Day of the Girl Child
The 11th of October marks International Day of the Girl
Child adopted by the United Nations General Assembly
on the 19th of December 2011, in accordance with
Resolution 66/170, with the aim of recognizing girls’ rights
and addressing the unique challenges girls face around
Moreover, this day affirms adolescent girls' right to a safe
and healthy life, with equitable access to health and
education. Unfortunately, young girls are disproportionately
exposed to sexual violence, discrimination, child marriage
and in some regions denied education.
Actively investing in and supporting girls leads to
strengthened economics and equitable societies. With the
potential to tackle issues contextually relevant to our times
such as political conflict, peace building and global
sustainability as business women, political leaders and
educators, investing in girls is investing in a brighter and promising future.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995), which have greatly contributed to the progress made towards ensuring gender equality, and encouraging the empowerment of women and girls globally.
It must be recognized that many gaps and obstacles in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls remain as levels of social injustice and inequalities escalate. According to a report by UNICEF, 1 in 7 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are exposed to forced marriage worldwide, with the total number of girls married in childhood standing at 12 million per year.
As part of the global Generation Equality movement, a united and organized effort of the global community is necessary in providing support, empowering girls and ensuring that their voices are heard, in accordance with the theme for this year, “ My Voice, Our Equal Future.”
As governments tackle the unprecedented challenges of the corona-virus, it must be stated that the various issues faced by young girls such as sexual and domestic violence and lack of economic security, have become exacerbated and will continue to negatively impact girls safety and well-being during and after the pandemic, without the implementation of gender sensitive responses.
Thus, in celebrating International Day of the Girl Child, the Institute welcomes the draft political declaration adopted by the Commission on the Status of Women during its sixty-fourth session that:
Recognizes that women and girls play a vital role as agents of development,
Recognizes that new challenges require intensified efforts
Emphasizes that gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls will make a crucial contribution to progress across all the Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda
The Geneva Institute for Human Rights appeals to all states that have not yet acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against women, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention to work towards accession, narrowing any reservations and ensuring that any reservation made does not conflict with the primary objectives of the convention. Moreover, the Institute urges all states to ensure the integration of the provisions of the convention in national legislation, regulations and policies, including those related to girls’ access to justice and reparations.
Furthermore, the Institute calls on states to implement the recommendations of the United Nations Working Group on the issues of discrimination against women and girls, including its recommendations regarding international obligations to implement specific short term measures to limit a negative gendered impact such as putting in place a hotline or online services to support victims of gender-based violence, and recognize the specific needs of young girls in relation to access to testing and other necessities such as sanitation and food.