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UN’s International Day of the Girl Child Is Here

UN Photo/Tobin Jones
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Women’s Rights Without Frontiers saves lives through their “Save a girl” campaign to end the global gendercide.

International Day of the Girl Child is here. Established by the United Nations (UN) in 2011, it's aim is to dedicate the 11th of October each year to the girl child and recognise their rights, as well as the specific challenges that they face throughout the world. “This year’s Day” says the UN, “will focus on ‘Innovating for Girls’ Education.”

They assert that the “fulfilment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative.”

“There is also overwhelming evidence” they continue, “that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.”

The UN has reported a noticeable progress in access to girls’ education in the last two decades, however “many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of this basic right.”

“Girls in many countries are still unable to attend school and complete their education due to safety-related, financial, institutional and cultural barriers. Even when girls are in school, perceived low returns from poor quality of education, low aspirations, or household chores and other responsibilities keep them from attending school or from achieving adequate learning outcomes. The transformative potential for girls and societies promised through girls’ education is yet to be realized.”

The UN’s hope is that in “recognizing the need for fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward, the 2013 International Day of the Girl Child will address the importance of new technology, but also innovation in partnerships, policies, resource utilization, community mobilization, and most of all, the engagement of young people themselves.”

The non-profit organisation Women’s Rights Without Frontiers (WRWF) in light of the occasion also emphasises the fundamental rights of girls. “It is a “girl’s right” not to be deleted from existence just because she’s a girl” they state. “ It is the “unique challenge” of girls in China and India to emerge from their mothers’ wombs alive, so that they may draw breath upon this earth and see the light of day.”

For that reason they have created the “Save a girl” campaign. The campaign works in China and India to support mothers expecting girls who are being pressured into have an abortion. They offer financial and emotional support to the women and are constantly saving lives.

WRWF talks about an example of the fruits of this campaign:

“An administrator at a local hospital in rural China places a secret call to a Women’s Rights Without Frontiers fieldworker. A woman’s ultrasound shows a girl, he says. The family is known to practice gendercide, and the mother is being pressured to abort.

“One of our fieldworkers visits and learns the husband’s family insists on the abortion. To help the mother keep the child, we offer monthly support for a year – part of our “Save a Girl” Campaign. She uses these much-needed funds to push back against the pressure to abort the baby because it’s a girl.

“Then comes the birth of a healthy baby . . . boy!  The ultrasound was wrong. In tears, the mother thanks us for saving her son, almost lost because he was expected to be a girl.”

This is just one out of a multitude of examples of this life saving campaign.

WRWF reveals a tragic statistic: “Experts estimate that up to 200 million women are missing in the world today due to gendercide, mostly in China and India.”

“This should not be a pro-choice or a pro-life issue” they stress, “this is a human rights issue. Gendercide is violence against women and girls.”

They continue: “all too often, gendercide is not a choice. There is a strong correlation between sex-selective abortion and coercion. Crushing social, economic, political and personal pressures in cultures with a strong son preference trample women carrying girls.  Women in these cultures hardly select their daughters for abortion. They are forced.”

“This violent discrimination against women and girls deserves a passionate response from groups that stand for women’s rights, whether on the right or on the left.”

Furthermore, China and India are not the only countries practicing gendercide. WRWF explains that it is occurring in the United States, the UK and many other countries all over the world. 

What we are dealing with is the blatant violation of fundamental rights at a global level and “when faced with human rights atrocities of this scale, silence is complicity” says WRWF.

To find out more about WRWF and their “Save a girl” campaign, click here.

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