Empowering Adolescent Girls
At the turn of the century, there were 17 million more out-of-school girls in South Asia than boys. Today, this has reversed, with near parity, to the advantage of girls. Yet there are still 45 million girls still out of school. COVID19 has uncovered critical remaining challenges for girls, as well as risks that could set back this progress.
Even prior to the global pandemic, a learning crisis meant that children graduating did not have basic functional skills (math, reading), let alone the 21st century skills necessary to be successful in today’s digital economy and workplace. For girls, education does not always translate into employment, with many finding their future in the home, engaged in unpaid work, or in the informal sector. Girls in Asia are more likely (10:1 ratio) to be not in employment, education or training as compared to boys, where South Asia ranks the highest in the world. Girls with disabilities, and those living in marginalized groups face specific barriers.
Inspiring Stories from South Asia
International Women’s Day 2021
International Women’s Day is observed each year on March 8 to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. This year, under the theme,“Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, UNICEF South Asia and partners came together to celebrate the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNICEF South Asia’s regional campaign, #SHeroes, is an ode to all the women and adolescent girls in South Asia and across the globe who have demonstrated their skills, knowledge and networks to effectively lead in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts and to support their communities and families. The #SHeros campaign recognizes and applauds the contribution of women and adolescent girls as health workers, teachers, entrepreneurs, community leaders and others.
It doesn't matter your age, size, gender – when you help others in your community and care for those around us, you can be a hero too! #SHEro
She shares her experience, she spreads her knowledge, and she holds our community together. She’s a #SHEro!
Leading both inside and outside the boardroom – that's what #SHEroes do!
International Day of the Girl 2021
Every year on 11 October, the International Day of the Girl (IDG), UNICEF launches an annual campaign with girls to amplify their voices and stand up for their rights. The theme for 2021 was “Digital Generation: Our Generation”.
For IDG 2021, UNICEF South Asia, in partnership with Plan International, organized a virtual consultation to strengthen commitments in realizing the power of adolescent girls for a more equitable and prosperous future.
Girls are breaking boundaries and barriers posed by stereotypes and exclusion and creating a world that is relevant for them and future generations. Let’s amplify girls’ innovation, leadership, actions and impact to inspire others in breaking the digital gaps.
South Asia Regional Hour of Code Resource Hub
Twice as many boys as girls expect to become engineers, scientists or architects1. Social norms around perceived appropriate skillsets for girls disadvantage them from engagement in employment in the 4th industrial workspace where over 90 % of jobs worldwide have a digital component2. Where girls have access to digital spaces, meaningful use is often limited to entertainment and social media rather than education and productive activities.
In order to create more opportunities, for higher female participation in areas which are usually the domain of men, such as ICT and engineering we must break the barrier of the gender digital divide. Today, girls are far less likely to own digital devices, have access to the internet or technology, and in turn have fewer opportunities to gain digital literacy and online safety skills. Without these options, girls are more likely to drop-out of school and increase their vulnerability to violence and child marriage.
With a global aim to engage more women and girls in STEM and to reduce the gender gap, this International Day of the Girl 2021, UNICEF ROSA and ITU in collaboration with CODE.org is launching this South Asia Regional Hour of Code Resource Hub in 6 languages (Dhivehi, Urdu, Hindi, Nepali, Marathi, Telegu and Tamil) through which girls with limited internet can access and download coding and computer science skills based initiatives to break these boundaries and increase female participation in the field of technology. The translations in Dhivehi has been completed by our partner Women in Tech and in Nepali by WiSTEM.
Participation of female students in computer science is only 20-25% of high school courses, university courses and in the workforce, however during the Hour of Code, female students make up 50% of all participants.
It is time to demystify the stereotype that the world of ICT and technology is one only for men. As girls and women gain digital skills they too can reap the promise of fourth industrial revolution and contribute their full potential!
To plan your own Hour of Code event, click on the link to access a step to guide on How to Plan your Hour of Code.
|Activity||Languages||Age/Level||Runs on smartphones?|
|Dance Party||Tamil||Ages 4 - 21||Yes|
|AI for Oceans||Tamil||All ages||Yes|
|Code with Google||Ages 9-14||Yes|