Why do we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child? Good question. Some months ago I explained Femeconomy to a well known male television personality. His immediate reaction was to loudly exclaim, “not another women’s thing! I hate all those women’s things! I suppose it’s all our [men’s] fault then!”.
It confounds me that people perceive tackling ongoing female disadvantage as a personal attack. Gender equality is about the same human rights for all. But this makes some men feel disenfranchised, or defensive. Why? The UN has a goal of a life of dignity for all. It’s frankly a bit hard to argue against that.
We celebrate International Day of the Girl Child because girls and women experience disadvantage in most societies globally. Girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life and to a future where they are equal partners in all aspects of society. Until this happens, we should continue to highlight inequality and work out ways to solve it.
The theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl (11 October) is Girls’ Progress = UN Sustainable Development Goals’ Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement. We recognise girls’ progress is good for girls, and also for families, communities and society at large. However, we face significant gaps in data on girls and young women, lack of systematic analysis, and limited use of existing data, which constrains our ability to monitor and communicate the well being and progress of half of humanity. We need to call for increased investment to harness the data required to ensure programs, policies and services effectively respond to the specific needs of girls.
What do you hope to see for our next generation of girls?