The Girl-child

Beijing+20 - The Girl-child

Malala Yousafzai is a Children. Photo: Southbank Centre@flickr. Creative Commons License LogoThis image is licensed under Creative Commons License.

„A girl can do everything today?” – Although we would possibly agree without thinking about it, this sentence seems more of a negligent self-delusion. Girls constitute a social group most discriminated, offended, abused, injured and killed in the world – all too often simply because they are girls.

The Beijing Platform for Action has set clear demands and strategic objectives for the promotion of girls:

  • Eliminate all forms of discrimination against the girl-child
  • Eliminate negative cultural attitudes and practices against girls
  • Promote and protect the rights of the girl-child and increase awareness of her needs and potential
  • Eliminate discrimination against girls in education, skills development and training
  • Eliminate discrimination against girls in health and nutrition
  • Eliminate the economic exploitation of child labour and protect young girls at work
  • Eradicate violence against the girl-child. Actions to be taken
  • Promote the girl-child's awareness of and participation in social, economic and political life.
  • Strengthen the role of the family in improving the status of the girl-child

However, although the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) increasingly attracts attention and their implementation, young girls and women continue to be the most vulnerable groups.

In some parts of the world, female fetuses are aborted and female babies are submitted to infanticide – because family tradition favours sons. Where nutrition is scarce, often girls get less to eat, than their male relatives, because they are of less value. In many parts of the world, girls have to accomplish extensive domestic duties and thus perform less good at school, than their brothers – if allowed to go to school at all.

Everywhere in the world, girls are sexually abused, forced to prostitution, and/or marriage and prone to early pregnancy. They suffer from female genital mutilation and have poorer access to healthcare, nutrition and education.

People like Malala Yousafzai and initiatives like #bringbackourgirls, who fight for the rights and lives of girls and get supported by inter-/national organizations, are therefore doing an important and strongly necessary work.

But also more wealthy industrialized nations see their girls having a hard time. Gender marketing for toys, clothes and nutrition, among others, limit girl’s possibilities for individual development.

Topmodel-Castingshows and other heteronormative, sexualized representations of young women in the media, advertising, arts and culture add to girls often being less self-confident, than their male counterparts. Girls are on a diet more often than boys and suffer from eating disorders. Girls thin themselves, instead of taking space.

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Good to Know

  • Progress of the World's Women 2015/2016: detailed report by the UN Women on the economical barriers facing women, and strategies of improving the political participation of women on a global scale. more>>
  • Beijing Platform for Action
    Read the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action here
    [PDF].
    An overview the Platform's 12 critical areas of concern by the UN Women. more>>
  • Women in Armed Conflicts: in the context of the CSW 59, the GWI co-hosted an event at concering a pressing issue for the Platform - women in armed conflicts. more>>

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