International Day Of The Girl Child: ILO Calls For Equal Treatment

Filed under: Features,Labor,Working Conditions |

ILO News- Around 88 million of the world’s child laborers are young girls under 18.

Many are in the lowest paid, least secure jobs. They find themselves constrained by gender inequality at home and in the workplace. Others who work in the home remain invisible and unaccounted for.

Around 88 million of the world’s child laborers are young girls under 18,. The first International Day of the Girl Child is 11 October 2012

Around 88 million of the world’s child laborers are young girls under 18. (ILO photo)

Guy Ryder, International Labour Organization director-general, has called for a coherent set of measures to ensure that girl children around the world attain social justice and progress.

In a statement issued for the first International Day of the Girl Child, marked on 11 October 2012, Ryder said that current structures, policies and values which put girl children at a disadvantage must be changed.

“Gender inequalities that take root at an early age tend to produce long-term gender inequality which is reproduced in the world of work. Notwithstanding the values, principles and rights so widely endorsed by the international community, too often, the reality is that girls are systematically left behind by virtue of their sex. This must end.”

The term “girl child” has many connotations, but it is generally used to emphasize the unique challenges faced by girls under the age of 18.

The two themes of the UN day are child labor and child marriage – practices described by Ryder as “a denial of the rights of children and an acute constraint to their full development.”

“Such practices also weigh heavily on the overall capacity of societies to achieve their development objectives,” he added.

Ryder emphasized that the benefits of investing in girl children – for their families, communities and society – have long been evident. However, inequalities in access to education and in outcomes mean that 64% of illiterate adults worldwide are women.

Alongside measures targeting girl children, Ryder said that women and mothers should be empowered through organization, access to income generating activities and social protection.

Given the current global economic crisis, he stressed, there needs to be “a firm resolve to re-commit to the goals of social progress and social justice in shaping a world where the girl child finds her rightful place – on equal terms with boys, at home and in school and well-prepared for entry, at the right time, to the world of work.

The International Day of the Girl Child initiative began as a project of Plan International, a worldwide non-governmental organization.

Canada Support International Day of the Girl Child At The UN

The idea for the International Day of the Girl Child grew out of Plan International’s Because I am a Girl campaign, which raises awareness of the importance of nurturing girls globally and especially in developing countries.

Plan International asked the Canadian government to help seek support for the initiative internationally.

International Day of the Girl Child was formally proposed as a resolution by Canada in the United Nations General Assembly.

Rona Ambrose, Canada’s Minister for the Status of Women, sponsored the resolution. On 19 December 2011, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution adopting October 11, 2012 as the first International Day of the Girl Child.

Various events to promote the International Day of the Girl are planned in several countries.

Some are sponsored by the United Nations, such as a concert in Mumbai, India. 

Non-governmental organizations, such as the Girl Guides Australia, are supporting events and activities for International Day of the Girl Child.

Local organizations have developed their own events, such as Girls and Football South Africa, who will distribute t-shirts on International Day of the Girl Child to commemorate the 1956 Black Sash march by 20,000 women.

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