Forging forward for adolescent girls in West and Central Africa

International Day of the Girl 2020: Generation Equality

Two adolescent girls facing the camera and wearing masks against COVID-19


Twenty-five years ago, more than 30,000 representatives of governments, women’s movements and NGOs from 200 countries pushed for and witnessed the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) at the World Conference on Women in Beijing. Key areas of urgent action for systemic change across social, economic, political and environmental domains were identified in order to achieve gender equality and the full realization of women and girls’ human rights.

However, despite regional progress on adoptions of international protocols and national laws, unequal power relationships prevail, with men and boys at all levels of society continuing to enjoy privileges while women and girls carry disproportionately unfair burdens. The COVID-19 pandemic has further placed these inequalities into stark relief and urgent attention is needed to ensure that hard-won gains are not lost.

In spite of these challenges, there is hope. As we inspire the next generation of African leaders, we remain optimistic of the bright future for girls in West and Central Africa.

Young girl with hands in front of her mouth, staring at the camera
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