Investing in 10-year-old girls boost to sustainable development – UNFPA report

posted in: Africa, Afrique

If all of the 10-year-old girls living in developing countries who currently drop out of or do not attend school were to complete their secondary education, it would lead to an additional US$21 billion per year, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) disclosed on Thursday in its annual State of the World Population Report.

“But, practices like forced marriage, child labour, female genital mutilation and others that sabotage girls’ health and human rights undermine the 2030 Agenda.

“In particular, such practices begin to create significant adverse impact for girls around the age of 10, as they severely restrict their potential as adults and therefore their participation in the economic and social progress of their communities and nations,” stated an information note on the report.

It noted that more than half of the world’s 60 million 10-year-old girls live in 48 countries with the worst gender equality, and nine out of 10 live in developing countries, saying: “Ten is a pivotal age because it typically marks the start of puberty, at which point in some areas of the world, a girl is then viewed as a commodity to be bought, sold, or traded.”

“Girls at this age are forced to leave school, marry, bear children, and live a lifetime of servitude.” the report added.

UNFPA Executive Director Babtunde Osotimehin, stated: “Impeding a girl’s safe, healthy path through adolescence to a productive and autonomous adulthood is a violation of her rights, but it also takes a toll on her community and nation. Whenever a girl’s potential goes unrealized, we all lose.”

He said that, luckily, research has shown a growing number of proven policy options that can dismantle some of the barriers that hold girls back. These include banning practices such as child marriage and providing cash transfers to parents of girls in poor households in order to finance education which keeps girls in school longer.

“Other successful approaches have included life-skills training and age-appropriate sexual education for girls approaching puberty,” Osotimehin noted.

He said the report urged that efforts focus on scaling up interventions to reach more girls, particularly those who are poorest and most vulnerable.

“For every year of education that a girl receives, she will see an additional 11.7 per cent raise in wages later in life, compared to 9.6 per cent for boys. Yet, twice the number of girls than boys aged between six and 11 will never start school, and 10 per cent of girls aged between five and 14 do twice the number of household chores per week than boys, more than 28 hours. Every day, some 47,700 girls are likely to be forced into marriage before the age of 18.

“How we invest in and support 10-year-old girls today will determine what our world will look like in 2030. With support from family, community and nation, and the full realization of her rights, a 10-year-old girl can thrive and help bring about the future we all want,” the UNFPA chief said.

The report noted that a girl at 10 years old is capable of rapidly absorbing wisdom and knowledge from those around her, and she is poised to one day become an inspiring leader, a productive worker, an innovator, a caring parent or any of the other roles that power a thriving, dynamic society.

“At 10, she is also expected to shape the future of her community and a flurry of life-changing events pulls her in many directions. Where she ends up depends on the support she receives and the power she has to shape her own future,” it stated.

Source PANA


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