Every three seconds, a girl is forced to marry and 120 million girls in the world have been subjected to sexual violence at some point. This is what Plan International Sweden writes in a debate article on Utvecklingsmagasinet. Photo: Plan International.


That is why we must defend girls' rights

The world is not equal. And for girls, this means that they are discriminated against twice - both because of their age and their gender. Something that has major consequences for how they can live their lives and shape their future, writes Plan International Sweden.

That all children should be allowed to live as good a life as possible can feel like a matter of course. With access to rights such as receiving care when you are ill, being protected from violence and being able to go to school. But the world is not fair and many children do not get their rights respected. Children are particularly vulnerable in connection with crises or disasters. Since the world is not equal either, girls are often the most vulnerable and therefore more efforts are needed with them in focus. The view of girls as less worthy must change. Girls must be given more power and freedom so that they have the opportunity to decide over their everyday lives and their future.

Everyone benefits from gender equality because it contributes to a positive societal development and is a prerequisite for global sustainability. But the world still has a long way to go to get there. Here, Plan International Sweden lists ten reasons why we must defend girls' rights.

  1. Girls are discriminated against from the day they are born.
    They often receive less food, care and attention and even risk being abandoned - just because of their gender. The environment's different views of girls and boys affect how children view themselves and their value throughout their upbringing.
  2. Girls are limited by norms and stereotypes.
    Expectations of how girls should be contribute to how they view themselves and their abilities. Studies have shown that we talk to children in different ways depending on their gender and that the words we choose affect their self-esteem and perception of what they can become. According to a US study girls already at the age of six believe that boys are smarter than girls.
  3. Girls miss out on education.
    130 million girls who should go to school do not do that today and according to Unesco, girls are overrepresented among the children who are never given the opportunity to start school. It negatively affects their future prospects. Girls who, on the other hand, are allowed to go to school get married later and have fewer and healthier children.
  4. Girls need to help more at home.
    We know that girls under the age of 14 spend 40 percent more time on unpaid housework than boys of the same age. It steals time from homework, friends and hobbies.
  5. Girls are forced to marry.
    Every three seconds a girl is forced to get married. If the global goal of eradicating child marriage by 2030 is to be achieved, development must go at least 12 times faster than it does now.
  6. Girls become pregnant and are in danger of death.
    18 million girls give birth every year at the same time as complications during pregnancy and childbirth the most common cause of death for 15-19 year old girls. How can we not talk about it?
  7. Girls are exposed to violence.
    120 million girls in the world have at some point been subjected to sexual violence and approximately every third girl will be subjected to physical or sexual violence during her lifetime. Violence and threats are found in the home, on the street, at school, online - everywhere girls move - and create insecurity and fear.
  8. Girls are genitally mutilated.
    10 girls are genitally mutilated every day. The procedure is not only painful and harmful but can have lifelong consequences and severely restrict the girls. That it is based on patriarchal values ​​about how men want girls to be does not make things better.
  9. Girls' lives are affected by something as mundane as menstruation.
    Every third school in the world lacks toilets, that and lack of good menstrual protection means that girls are forced to stay home from school. The first menstruation signals in some cultures that the girl has become a woman and therefore she risks getting married.
  10. Girls are hit extra hard in crises and disasters.
    When a disaster strikes, girls are given last priority and their basic needs such as food and health care are rarely met. Violence against girls is increasing, more people are getting married off, their freedom of movement is restricted even more and they may be forced to leave school.


This is a debate article. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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