11th October, 2020
Every year on 11th October, the International Day of the Girl is celebrated globally with a series of campaign and activities to amplify the voices of irls and encourage them stand up for their rights.
Each year, the day comes with a theme and this year, the theme is, “My Voice, Our Equal Future” which calls for a better world inspired by adolescent girls energized and recognized, counted and invested in.
According to the UNICEF, as adolescent girls worldwide assert their power as change-makers, International Day of the Girl 2020 focus on their demands to:
- Live free from gender-based violence, harmful practices, and HIV and AIDS
- Learn new skills towards the futures they choose
- Lead as a generation of activists accelerating social change.
The Beijing Declaration Platform
According to UNICEF, Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action is the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing the rights of not only women but girls. Now, nearly 25 years later, the Platform for Action remains a powerful foundation for assessing progress on gender equality. It calls for a world where every girl and woman can realize all her rights, such as to live free from violence, to attend and complete school, to choose when and whom she marries, and to earn equal pay for equal work.
The Platform for Action specifically calls on the global community to:
- Eliminate all forms of discrimination against girls.
- Eliminate negative cultural attitudes and practices against girls.
- Promote and protect the rights of girls and increase awareness of their needs and potential.
- Eliminate discrimination against girls in education, skills development and training.
- Eliminate discrimination against girls in health and nutrition.
- Eliminate the economic exploitation of child labour and protect young girls at work.
- Eradicate violence against girls.
- Promote girls’ awareness of and participation in social, economic and political life.
- Strengthen the role of the family in improving the status of girls.
It is in the same vein that CITAD is lending her voice to the global call for stakeholders at national, state and local level to work together toward:
- Eliminating gender violence and discrimination against girls especially rape, to enable them live in a space free from gender-based violence and harmful practices.
- Promote and protect the rights of girls, their right to education and expression, as well as providing them with equal opportunities for skills development and training, to enable them learn new skills towards the futures they choose.
- Empowering girls to become independent and self-reliant to protect themselves from poverty and other forms of discrimination.
- Bridging gender digital gap by enabling access and affordability for them to enjoy the benefits ICT can offer to them.
In the past, CITAD has made series of efforts aimed at reducing gender-based violence and discrimination as well as protecting girl child right especially right to education and freedom of expression. Our effort includes:
- Online and offline awareness creation for the society on the importance of girl child education and digital literacy skills.
- Training and mentoring of girls and young women on different skills especially digital skills for self and financial independence.
- Providing empowerment opportunities for girls and young women, including soft loan employability training, business documentation mentorship and support.
- Series of campaigns against violation of girl child right especially rape, child labour and other forms of domestic violence.
- Advocating to key stakeholders on enabling internet access and affordability as well as bridging gender digital gap.
Protecting the girl child is the responsibility of all stakeholders including government and its relevant agencies/ministries, school managements and teachers, security and CSOs, traditional and religious leaders, media and parents among others. Thus, we need collective as well as individual efforts together to help in reshaping the world to become a better and safer place for our girls. CITAD therefore recommend that:
- While CITAD is calling on the government to ensure the full implementation of the Child Rights Act, we also call on States governments that have not domesticated the Child Rights Act to do so without further delay and to ensure effective implementation.
- CITAD is pleading with parents to ensure not only enrolment of their girl child to schools, but also ensuring the completion of their at least, basic education (primary and secondary education).
- All stakeholders and Citizens including women groups, CSOs and members of the society should play their role in putting eyes on moral discipline and protection of girl child from violation of rights and any form of child abuse.
- Parents must ensure the provision of their family needs and especially that of the girl child
- Teachers and parents should provide mentorship for their girl child/student on how to protect herself and respond to abuse.
- Parents and school managements should ensure the provisions of sanitary pads for adolescent girls.
Maryam Ado Haruna
Gender and Internet Advocacy
Media links for the Celebration of International Girl Child day