Girls' rights: education as a massive weapon for gender equality

The human rights of girls are seriously threatened by the economic and social consequences of the HIV pandemic and by the growing economic, political and climatic crises. Given the urgency of the situation, Action Education is sounding the alarm and sees access to education for all as a massive weapon to guarantee the fundamental rights of girls. 

"Never forget that all it will take is one crisis political, economic or religious to ensure that the rights of women be challenged". 

As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of theème he International Day for Girls' Rights is a sad reminder of the accuracy of Simone de Beauvoir's words. An explosion in early marriages and pregnancies, an increase in violence, deprivation of access to health care and education, limitation of their sexual and reproductive rights: the situation of young girls in the world has probably never been so dramatic. 

An undeniable regression of fundamental rights

Behind this undeniable regression of the fundamental rights of girls lies thehe Covid-19 pandemic, of course, and its social restrictions, which for months deprived young girls of access to education and care, and exposed them to all kinds of violence, moral and physical, without any possibility of recourse to assistance. But in recent months, the economic, political and environmental crises have continued to multiply and have particularly affected girls. Conflicts and climatic disasters have led to major population displacements _ 44 million girls and women are now displacedThe war in Ukraine and soaring inflation now confront girls with increasing inequality and poverty. The war in Ukraine and soaring inflation now confront girls with ever greater inequality and poverty. To date, more than 938 million girls and women live on less than USD 3.20 a day. At the current rate, if nothing changes, the number of women living in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, one of the poorest regions in the world, will be greater in 2030 than today. If nothing changes, warn UN WomenGender parity will not be achieved for almost three centuries. 

Education as a vehicle for progress and gender equality

For millions of girls around the world, the loss of their basic rights is not inevitable. Progress, some of it significant, had been made in previous decades without really overturning the established order. A succession of crises was therefore enough to sweep away the progress made in favour of gender equality and allow patriarchy to brutally re-impose its authority and its very Manichean vision of the world. Yet governments, especially those that have been working for years to promote gender equality, know very well how to act to Respecting the fundamental rights of girls: it is now more than urgent to guarantee women equal access to education, employment and decision-making positions. For Action Education, snly access to quality education will enable young girls to acquire the skills and attitudes that are essential to their lives as adults and citizens, to develop a critical mind, to be aware of their rights and to have the confidence to defend them. Moreover, it will enable them to occupy positions of power and decision-making, which will enable them to overturn the power relations that have prevailed in our societies for centuries. 

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