World commemorates Day of the Girl Child
The world is commemorating International Day of the Girl Child, observed yearly on October 11, using "With Her: A Skilled GirlForce", as 2018’s theme.
A 2017 global survey of 30 000 young people by the World Economic Forum found that more than half of young women felt their views were not heard or not taken seriously.
Through the theme, the United Nations (UN) is advocating for equal rights for girls and a chance for a better education. It seeks to ensure equal participation in politics by 2030 has been mentioned as one of the UN's global goals.
Further, Save the Children says more than 50 million child marriages could be prevented by 2030 if all girls finished secondary school. Campaigners say children married young tend to leave school, have limited economic opportunities, are vulnerable to abuse and mental health problems and are more likely to live in poverty than those who marry later.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, Plan International, World Health Organisation, Care International and Save the Children jointly, worldwide, about 15 million girls aged 15 to 19 have experienced forced sex. In Britain, two-thirds of girls surveyed by Plan International said they had experienced unwanted sexual attention or contact in a public place.
Every week, 7 000 girls between 15 and 24 are infected with HIV. More than 200 million girls and women have experienced female genital mutilation around the world.
Nearly 3 million girls have been displaced by war, with girls in conflict zones being more than twice as likely to be out of school than girls in peaceful countries.
About 62 million girls of primary and lower secondary school age are not in school. Based on current trends, almost 10 million girls will marry in 2030 alone and more than 2 million of those brides will be under the age of 15.
Every year, 12 million girls are married off before they turn 18 and one in five become mothers before the age of 18.
--Edited by Molebogeng Seemela--