The Convention on the Rights of the Child applies to both girls and boys. The second article of the Convention clearly states that girls and boys must be treated equally, without discrimination, based on sex or any other factor (such as race, colour, language, religion, political opinion, and disability). In cases where girls are discriminated against, States are required to take special measures (such as providing scholarships to girls in order to ensure their enrolment is at the same level as that of boys) to ensure the elimination of discrimination. To read more about the Convention, click here.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) lays out the fundamental human rights of women and girls and obliges governments to end discrimination against women and girls and promote gender equality. The Convention addresses areas such as legal rights, education, employment, health care, political participation and economic empowerment. It was adopted in 1979 and has been signed by most governments, although there are still some countries that have not yet ratified it. Even though the CEDAW only refers to “women” and not “girls,” it is not age-specific and protects the rights of women and girls throughout their life cycle, meaning from birth, through childhood, adulthood, and old age.
The lives of women and children are closely linked, as are their rights. Historically, women and children have both faced discrimination. Protecting the rights of women tends to reap benefits for their children. At the same time, protecting the rights of children – particularly girls – is the first step in promoting gender equality for women. Gender inequality begins in childhood. Therefore efforts to combat it must start there as well. The rights of women and children, considered together, can reinforce each other.