World of Women
Must-know facts and reading list for Day of the Girl
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Discrimination and violence against girls is rife, a lack of access to quality education will lead to a greater likelihood of poverty, and 10 million girls are pressured into marriage every year.
These are just some of the human rights issues that will be addressed today as part of International Day of the Girl Child, an initiative raised by the United Nations to highlight the extreme inequalities that girls face around the world.
Our friends at Something In Common have listed a number of important facts on the plight of girls globally, and the obstacles young women conftront in achieving basic human rights:
- In many developing countries one out of seven girls marries before the age of 15
- Pregnancy and childbirth are a significant cause of death for girls and young women aged 15 to 19 worldwide
- As many as 150 million girls and young women under 18 have experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence involving physical contact.
- In Australia, girls are more likely to be the subject of substantiated sexual abuse than boys.
- One of the most pressing challenges facing girls across the world is access to quality education.
- There are 75 million girls out of school globally.
Changing these numbers requires an understanding of the unique challenges that girls confront. Empowering girls is the keystone of change, but empowering them requires the participation of an entire community.
The first ever Day of the Girl Child will focus on child marriage.
- One in three young women aged 20-24 years were first married before they reached age 18.
- One third of them entered into marriage before they turned 15.
- Child marriage results in early and unwanted pregnancies, posing life-threatening risks for girls.
- In developing countries, 90 per cent of births to adolescents aged 15-19 are to married girls, and pregnancy-related complications are the leading cause of death for girls in this age group.
Launching International Day of Girl Child yesterday, Prime Minister Gillard quoted Malala Yousafzai the schoolgirl and activist who was shot by the Pakistani Taliban for campaigning for female education.
"I will serve my people, I will speak up for my right of education and I speak for the girls. If I lost my life inspeaking up for the rights of girls, it is not a big deal for me."
Here are some fantastic resources to read up on International Day of the Girl Child:
In conjunction with International Day of the Girl Child, Plan International has launched the Because I am a Girl campaign, and identified the eight barriers that prohibit girls from achieving equality.
Because I am a Girl Facebook
Something In Common: Dig Deeper
UN Women list key facts of the global plight of women
The Inaugural International Day of the Girl Child, Prime Minister's Speech
Why we need an International Day of the Girl Child: Ian Wishart