For every girl, a voice
Girls have a voice, a say and a right to bring their solutions to the table. As we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, whilst simultaneously facing the global COVID-19 pandemic, let us reimagine a world inspired by adolescent girls sharing their voices, their solutions
During the ongoing pandemic, expertise suggests that girls have experienced an increased level of violence at home, as opportunities to leave the house diminished. If girls feel unsafe they will not be able to reach their full potential – at school, at home, at work. With the added strain on the health service, girls may also not have had access to crucial services at a crucial development moment.
We know that Egypt has achieved great progress in closing the gender gap in education. However, girls are still more likely to be illiterate, more likely to skip school or drop out entirely. The reasons can be home chores, marriage, financial challenges, and school proximity. All this puts girls at an automatic disadvantage at the outset of adult life. This is evidenced by a lower likelihood that a young woman is five times less likely to have a job or be in higher education or training than a young man of the same age. Data shows that, each year of secondary school for a girl increases her eventual earnings by up to 25%. This can lead, in turn, to healthier, better educated children, as a young mother will tend to invest her income back into her family.
As we build back and adapt to the evolving context in which we now live, we need to join forces with girls and boys to empower their leadership and foster a world that will live up to their aspirations and safeguard our future. UNICEF is strongly committed to supporting the voices of young girls and boys in designing innovative solutions to this end.
UNICEF in Egypt is pleased to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child with the National Girls’ Empowerment Initiative, Dawwie. Led by the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, the initiative is a growing coalition of girls and boys, national and local institutions, and international and national development partners, systematically promoting the voices of girls and boys committed to shaping equal opportunities for all at all levels. (https://www.dawwie.net - https://www.facebook.com/DawwieInitiative).
Adolescent girls have been sharing their voices on Dawwie platforms to demand a life free from violence at home, in public and online. Dawwie also gives voice to a strong demand for the removal of barriers to equal economic opportunities, and addressing the gender digital divide.
If we commit to empowering our daughters and sisters we need to find space to talk about the why. If COVID 19 obliges to adapt to a new normal, let’s take this valuable opportunity to use platforms like Dawwie to stimulate the potential to have these conversations, to identify solutions for a better world for every girl, every boy – for every child.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/egypt/.