AS the world celebrates the International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC), the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Natalia Kanem, has called for increased attention to the plights of girls.
She made the call in a statement on the official UNFPA twitter handle — @UNFPA, on Sunday, to mark the IDGC, which has “My Voice, Our Equal Future” as the 2020 theme of the celebration.
Kanem, who stressed the need for countries around the globe to protect the future and uphold the rights of girls, added that “every girl has the right to speak up and to be heard, now more than ever.
“It is time for us to listen today as we celebrate the International Day of the Girl-Child, we have an unprecedented opportunity to uplift the adolescent girl to drive progress in our world.
“As we seek to build back better and greener and bluer from the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot allow a girls’ dreams and aspirations to be curtailed; her lost potential costs us all.
“When we invest in her health and wellbeing, she will transform her world — and ours.
“Today, on the International Day of the Girl, let’s commit to listening to and lifting up girls’ voices.”
She explained that the voices of girls were often silenced in households, in schools and in the public sphere.
She added that “for millions of girls around the world, silence is enforced through Female Genital Mutilation, child marriage and other harmful practices.”
She said that not only do these practices violate a girl’s bodily integrity and autonomy, they steal her confidence and ability to make informed choices about her life.
The acts happen in a moment but their consequences last a lifetime, she added.
She explained that the harmful traditional acts had continued to happen even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She noted that a study by UNFPA and partners shows that the pandemic could result in 13 million more child marriages and two million more cases of FGM between now and 2030.
She said: “adolescent pregnancy is on the rise. Girls under lockdown and out of school are highly vulnerable.
“With the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda as our guide, we need to do better to ensure that girls are not left behind. We cannot allow the current crisis to derail the future of an entire generation.
“Let’s redouble our efforts toward a gender-equal world, one where every girl has the power to make informed choices about her body and her life, equipped with the right knowledge and skills.
“Surrounded by a peaceful home, safe school and a nurturing community, and protected by the law and duty-bearers, she will have the tools to thrive.“
The IDGC is an international observance Day aimed at highlighting the needs and problems of girls around the globe.
It is also to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face all over the world and promote their empowerment.
It is used to also advocating for the attainment of their basic human rights, like education and bodily autonomy.
– Oct. 11, 2020 @ 15:19 GMT |