All posts tagged: Girls’ rights

The Girl Child Platform is going to CSW

For the second year in a row the Girl Child Platform is going to the UN:s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York. The 61st session of CSW begins on March 13th and continues for two weeks. Representatives from UN member states, UN agencies and nonprofit organizations from all over the world will participate in the sessions. The theme of this year’s session is “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work”. Today the labour market is in many ways unequal. Women often have lower salaries and inferior benefits than men. Men are also more often in power positions than women. However, this year’s theme is also important for young girls and not only adult women. Reports by The Adolescent Girls Advocacy and Leadership Initiative indicate that teenage girls represent the most economically vulnerable group in the world. Above all the problem remains that women and girls do a lot more unpaid work, like taking care of the household and the family. In many cases this workload leads to girls having to …

Encouraging Girls to Take on the World through Education Centres in India

Offering girls basic education is one sure way of giving them much greater power – of enabling them to make genuine choices over the kinds of lives they wish to lead. This is not a luxury. The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women establish it as a basic human right. So why is it that despite proving to be a blessing to society the girl child is – in the worst case scenario – killed in the womb, or otherwise allowed to breathe but only the air of negligence, discrimination and deprivation? Today, we’re not only proud of great women of science like Sunita Williams, or women who’ve acted as agents of change like Sarojini Naidu, or  women who’ve taught us what it means to be human like Mother Teresa, but we also encourage such people to come forward and reform our world. Why is it that even though we claim to be the biggest democracy in the world we simply cannot destroy the …

A Beginner’s Guide to Stopping Time

This piece was written by Julia Z. – a high school student from the United States of America. All opinions are her own. We hear our grandparents say it. Preach it. Sitting around a crackling fire surrounded by family. Those wise with age warn those who listen eagerly – live while you’re young, enjoy every moment, time moves so fast. We hear the poets telling us to seize the day. Time is an enigmatic topic that attracts scholars, academics, and even inexperienced teenagers like myself. Is it possible that when people tell us to seize the day, they really are warning us to retain our innocence for as long as the universe will allow? Innocence is lost when the weight of the world is suddenly shifted onto the shoulders of an unsuspecting child. Burden, struggle, and responsibility are what make you transform from an innocent child to an adult who wears stress on his or her face like a child wears a smile. What I am describing hit me on a recent trip to Ethiopia. …

Remember the Forgotten Ones

On a brisk Sunday afternoon, I sat down with two true human rights advocates. These two women shared countless reasons why educating children particularly girls was important to the recovery and betterment of a nation. And why girls need quality education just as much as they need basic necessities even in volatile areas. Annette Scarpitta, Program Founder and Director of Rwenena Kids and Solange Nyamulisa, Communications Specialist at the UN, talked for hours about the countless reasons why we need to pay closer attention to the affects of conflicts on girls and women. I have never experienced the trauma of war, so I can only imagine the level of dysfunction in a country ravaged by a 20 year conflict. I asked Solange to explain to me exactly what was occurring in the Democratic Republic of Congo and she told me about the various rebel groups vying for power and wreaking havoc throughout the eastern portion of the country. But more importantly, she explained how a prolonged conflict tears the community and economy apart and leaves women …

White Ribbon Alliance: Passionate Citizens Changing Communities

Girls’ Globe bloggers have had the opportunity to meet with and speak to Midwives and Citizen Journalists from Uganda, Malawi and Zimbabwe, who are working with White Ribbon Alliance to strengthen the rights and health of women and children, and to change communities so that they thrive. Caroline Maposhere, Zimbabwe Caroline Maposhere is a Registered Nurse, nurse midwife and a public health nurse with Bachelor of Theology and Master of Science in Counseling studies. She has extensive experience working in reproductive health including counseling young people, parents and religious leaders on sexual diversity and training health care providers on how to be sensitive to the needs of LGBTI people. Caroline has vast training experience including being US Peace Corps Pre service Technical Trainer in more than 10 countries. She is well-known as “Aunty” on radio, TV and church programs for sexual and reproductive health in Zimbabwe and is a member of the Board of Trustees for White Ribbon Alliance Zimbabwe. Elman Nsinda, Uganda A journalist and advocate for women’s and children’s health and rights, Elman Nsinda has been involved in safe motherhood advocacy campaigns across the Uganda …

The Quest for Gender Equality: Get Angry About the Present and Keep Going!

I can’t forget the day I met Gloria Steinem. Having barely recovered from the flu, I rolled out of bed too late to wash my hair. Behind on a work deadline, I was preoccupied by Everything-I-Had-To-Do later in the day. The babysitter had to leave earlier than originally planned, which meant that either my partner or I would be rushing out of the event early. As I downed my cough medicine and blew my nose I had second thoughts about going. Still, I went. Realizing I would have the opportunity to speak with Gloria, I planned to tell her about my work as an activist for girls and women. But when I actually stood next to her, I surprised myself by thanking her for her own tireless work that spans decades. “Gratitude,” Gloria once said, “never radicalized anybody. I don’t care if they recognize the past, I just want them to get angry about the present and keep going.” This quote ran through my mind as I spoke to the feminist icon who said it. …

Is My Body Truly Mine? Thoughts from CSW

At the moment I am part of The Girl Child Platform’s delegation at CSW, the United Nations’ yearly conference on the status of women, in New York. This week thousands of women and girl activists from all around the world are gathered to raise awareness about women’s and girls’ rights. We come from different cultures and backgrounds but what the majority of all the discussions has been about this week is the right to one’s own body. This has made me wonder if my body has ever been mine at all. As a girl, no matter where in the world you live, you are being taught from day one that your body exists for someone else and that your body should be shaped, formed and used for others. The first time my body was kidnapped I was 13. My body was changing, growing, and turning into – what my mother called – more feminine shapes. But for me my body was not turning more feminine because I did not look like the women on the magazines or in the movies. I did however understand that femininity …

Equal Nationality Laws Are Vital to Realizing Girls’ Rights and Security

This post was written by Catherine Harrington, Campaign Manager for the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights, on behalf of the Coalition for Adolescent Girls. At first glance, laws governing nationality rights might seem irrelevant to securing the rights and security of girls across the globe. But, in reality, when countries deny women and men equal nationality rights, it can result in serious violations of girls’ most basic human rights. Nationality laws dictate one’s ability to acquire, change, retain and confer nationality. Today, 27 countries deny women equal rights to pass their nationality to their own children. Over 50 countries maintain some form of gender discrimination in their nationality law, including denying women the right to pass nationality to foreign spouses. When women are denied equal rights to confer nationality to their children, children with foreign fathers are at risk of being left stateless – a status whereby no state recognizes the child as a citizen. Children may be unable to access their father’s nationality for a variety of reasons. In Nepal, a country where roughly one in four …

Zero Tolerance for FGM

This post is written by: Paula Kweskin, Human Rights Attorney and Documentary Filmmaker Imagine a surgery performed with dirty instruments, without anesthesia, and no doctor. No one dresses your wounds and there are no follow-up appointments. This is not a description of a medieval medical procedure; it is a practice which takes place every six minutes around the world. 140 million girls and women have been affected by female genital mutilation (FGM), the cutting and/or removal of a girl’s genitalia in order to preserve her “honor” or “purity.” FGM violates several human rights principles, including rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. FGM is not prescribed by any particular religion, and yet it is often advocated by religious and community leaders who believe the removal of a girl’s clitoris is necessary to ensure she marries well, brings honor to her family or clan, preserves her virginity and limits her sexual drive. FGM is …

Ending Child Marriage and FGM Saves Lives and Money

This post is co-written by: Rachel, Policy Associate and Salma, Egypt Fellow Around the world, women’s and girls’ value as human beings is all too often based largely upon their sexuality, rather than their personal and societal contributions. Disproportionately, girls around the world are pulled out of school, restricted in terms of where and how they can get around and with who whom they are allowed to speak. Many are forced into unwanted marriages. One of the most profound ways girls are affected is they’re often forced to undergo what is known as Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). FGM/C is a type of surgery performed on young girls – in a misguided effort – to “preserve their purity.” This surgery can cause irreparable harm to girls’ health and, in some cases, can be deadly. Take, for example, Sohier Al-Batea, a 13-year old Egyptian girl, who died in 2013 after a trained and licensed medical doctor cut away parts of her external genitalia as part of a FGM/C surgery. Though universally considered a human rights violation, FGM/C …