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International Day of the Girl Child: Development Sector Renews Commitment to Empower Girls

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New Delhi: Today, the world celebrates the International Day of the Girl Child, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the unique challenges faced by girls and advocating for their rights and empowerment. The government of India has also taken significant steps in recent years, implementing various initiatives and scholarship programs aimed at promoting the education of girl children. Collective action from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) is essential to move towards an inclusive world and to ensure every girl can build a brighter future.

A Gender-Lens Approach in Policymaking

Gender experts worldwide recognize the urgency of enabling girls to ensure they have equal opportunities and resources. AVPN, which is the largest network of social investors in Asia, is pushing for the espousal of a gender-lens to policymaking.

Investing in Girls for an Equitable World

“We must prioritise investment in girls if we want to build a more equitable world. Channelling capital in towards girls’ education, health, and well-being not only benefits them individually but also has a ripple effect how communities function. The most crucial part of the puzzle is the incorporation of an inherent gender lens during policymaking and impact investing. When we empower girls, we unlock their potential as change-makers and leaders, contributing to a brighter and more inclusive future for all,” said Deborah Foo, Manager, Gender Platform, AVPN. 

Academic Insights on Gender Equality

Mahima Varma is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of SociologyDelhi University. Bringing forth an academician’s point of view, she said, “Achievement of Gender Equality and SDGs would require variations in plans, policy formations, and their implementation, given the differences both in life circumstances of girls and boys. The need is to recognise patterns of privileges in access to basic nutrition, education and socialization that are brought about by hierarchy emphasized by caste, class and embedded in social identities of religion, sexuality, disability, ethnicity and culture.”

Strategies for Gender Empowerment

“This can be done through making accessible women’s and men’s choices in education, marriage, reproductive health, and protection from sexual harassment and awareness about legal frameworks. Socialization of men to acknowledge the value that women add to overall goals when recognised as equals is a crucial investment to be made for protection and empowerment of girls,” she added.

Healthcare and Sex Education for Girls

Debanjana Choudhuri, Director, Programmes and Partnerships, Foundation for Reproductive Health Services  India (FRHSI) emphasizes the critical role of access to healthcare, unbiased services, and comprehensive sex education in empowering girls:

“Access to healthcare and unbiased reproductive services is fundamental to the empowerment of girls. When girls have access to these essential services, they can make informed decisions about their bodies and their futures. Comprehensive sex education ensures that they have the knowledge and confidence to protect themselves and make choices that lead to healthier lives and brighter futures.”

This International Day of the Girl Child, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering girls, providing them with equal opportunities, and addressing the challenges they face. By doing so, we can pave the way for a brighter and more inclusive future for girls, giving them a chance to reach their full potential.

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