October 11, 2015 is International Day of the Girl which aims to recognize girls’ rights and the challenges they face around the world. The theme for International Day of a Girl Child 2015 is The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030. While an improvement was seen in primary education with a higher enrolment of girls since 1990, there still remains a problem once girls get to secondary education levels. Many girls do not continue with school in developing countries in their adolescent years. Some are made to take care of the home, work and often times forced into early marriage.
This year, we look back at the progress that was made under the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which had specific goals to reach by 2015. There has been significant progress made in many areas to improve the lives of girls and women because of the MDGs. For example, primary school enrolment has had a great improvement in places like Southern Asia where in 1990 only 74 girls were enrolled for every 100 boys while in 2015 there are 103 girls enrolled for every 100 boys. Maternal and child mortality is another area that saw positive change through a decline in deaths after delivery and lower infant mortality over the last 15 years. Even though there are tangible improvements in many areas set forth by the MDGs, there is still so much work to be done.
For the next 15 years, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to continue with the progress of the MDGs while making efforts to end poverty, hunger, ensure access to health and well-being, ensure quality and equal education, access to water and sanitation and achieving gender equality while empowering all women and girls.
UN agencies, organizations and private companies are encouraged to make a commitment to support and put adolescent girls at the heart of the SDGs by making an investment into their education, health and nutrition, promoting zero tolerance against physical, mental and sexual abuse and pushing governments to pass legislation that will create policies to benefit girls; especially those who are in vulnerable and marginalized communities.
Mark this International Day of the Girl by supporting an organization that you believe in to make real progress in supporting the lives of young women and girls. It doesn’t matter what country you are in, girls are still at a disadvantage in our world when compared to the privileges afforded to boys and men.
Earlier this year, for International Women’s Day on March 8th, the Step it Up for Gender Equality campaign was launched. The video and campaign are still worth paying attention to so I included it here. Watch below.