Did you know that one third of girls in the developing world are married before the age of 18 and 1 in 9 are married before the age of 15?
There are 1.1 billion girls in the world, and every one of them deserves equal opportunities for a better future. They are a source of energy, power and creativity. They can drive change and help build a better future for all. Yet, most girls face disadvantage and discrimination on a daily basis, and those living through crises are suffering even more. Commemorating
This year, on the International Day of the Girl Child, the UN focuses on how to ‘Empower Girls: Before, during and after crises’. The year 2017 has witnessed a lot of insecurity, with about 128.6 million people this year expected to need humanitarian assistance due to security threats, climate change and poverty.
According to UN Women, more than three-quarters of those who have become refugees or who are displaced from their homes, are women and children. Among these, women and girls are among the most vulnerable in times of crisis. Displaced and vulnerable women and girls face higher risks of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as damage to their livelihoods; girls are 2.5 times more likely than boys to miss school during disasters; and displaced girls are often married off as children in an effort to ensure their security.
UN Women reports that every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence. In humanitarian emergencies, gender-based violence often increases, subjecting girls to sexual and physical violence, child marriage, exploitation and trafficking. Adolescent girls in conflict zones are 90 per cent more likely to be out of school when compared to girls in conflict-free countries, compromising their future prospects for work and financial independence as adults.
My message on this day is, young girls should be empowered because they are able to rebuild their societies apart from staying back at home while others go school, they are able to offer more apart from getting married and bringing forth children at a tender age when they know nothing about life.
I dedicate this day to the more than 100 Chibok girls who are still held in captivity, some of them which have become mothers already… These girls deserve a chance just like every other person to make an impact on their society.