by Kiwiana Ngabung – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Today marks the International Day of the Girl Child; a day to acknowledge and appreciate the rights of girls and the unique challenges they face.
This year’s theme “Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement” draws special attention to the existing data gap that is crucial in addressing issues that girls and young women face.
In his keynote message, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said “The wellbeing, human rights and empowerment of the world’s 1.1 billion girls are central to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. When we agreed on that agenda, we promised girls quality education and health services.
“We committed to ending discrimination and violence against girls, and harmful practices like child marriage. We pledged to leave no one behind.”
Especially, in developing nations, in war-hit areas, refugee camps, rural villages, etc. girls and young women do not get the respect and appreciation they deserve.
According to the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) girls and women make up 70% of the world’s internally displaced population and are left the furthest behind in education, in Pakistan, where child marriage and teenage pregnancy are often cited among refugee girls, dropout rates for refugee girls are as high as 90%.
And the UN Statistics Division’s The World’s Women 2015, states that more than 125 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to female genital mutilation across countries in Africa and the Middle East where this specific form of violence against women is concentrated.
Unfortunately, these are only a few of the many grueling but sad facts girls and women around the world go through.
While we are one year into reaching the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, much more needs to be done, considering current statistics. With relevant and necessary data, better policies can be made, improved services and opportunities can be created, effective programs can be organised and SDG5 can be accomplished.
“Investing in girls is both the right thing to do, and the smart thing to do. It has a powerful ripple effect across all areas of development, and reaches forward to future generations.
“But what cannot be measured cannot be managed. If we do not gather the data we need, we will never know if we are delivering on our promises.”