This week we asked members of the Girl Engagement Advisory Board to give us a rundown of what they’d say if they had one minute to speak to a UN official about the inclusion of girls in the post 2015 development agenda.
There are lots of issues to be raised but the one I would speak about is the education of the girl child and the prohibition of early child marriage. Both are interlinked. If you want to empower the girl child then allow her to fulfill her potential by going- that potential is cut short by early marriage. And this is a root cause of so many other problems be it early/unwanted pregnancy, fisco vistula, abortion, poverty, etc….all of this are results of child marriage. If we want to empower the girl child, then let’s do all that is possible to ensure that she goes to school. How can this be achieved? This can be achieved by ensuring that the member states put laws against child marriage and making sure those laws are enforced. Specifically, continuous advocacy speaking against child marriage can affect behavioral change amongst the people involved, the parents, elders, town leaders and even the girls themselves.
Its a stated fact that every girl has the right to education. But how can they uphold this right when child marriage lingers on…..I wonder! -Elizabeth, 18, Nigeria
Though there are numerous problem that to be mentioned, child labor is also one of the prevailing problem. Regardless of gender, every child has fundamental rights which need to be considered. Talking at high level this issue might seem small but it’s roots are very deep. – Muna, Nepal, 20
If I had the chance to speak about something I would speak about the issue of sexual reproductive health and rights classes in schools. We don’t have this kind of classes in the Bulgarian education program, which makes it harder to spread the information among students who are one of the target groups of the problem. It is fundamental to know your reproductive system and to know how to take care of your health, too. – Preslava, Bulgaria
I will speak about inequality in terms of leadership, education and roles in the society. Women, especially those from rural areas, lack education, which leads to my country’s high illiteracy rate. Furthermore, women are not given equal chances with men in terms of leadership. Most roles in the communities are left for elders who are men. I think we should be equal. – Caren, 20, Kenya
Those of the essentials (reasons) that go behind the discrimination and the continual oppression of women cross culturally.- Ally, USA
I think that the issue which has been ignored the most is not the problem itself but the barriers that exist in face of possible solutions. Especially the cultural and religious one. If there are campaigns held against child marriage or early pregnancies, then they might influence the literate but not the uneducated. Their roots and beliefs are sacred to them and thus solutions that might convince people to adopt to these changes are critical. – Hamna, 17, Pakistan