On Day of the Girl, Putting Girls First

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In honor of International Day of the Girl Child, Ann K. Blanc, Vice President and Director of Poverty, Gender and Youth at the Population Council and Senior Advisor to the Maternal Health Task Force, shared a blog post on the Huffington Post about the “600 million adolescent girls in the developing world.” Ann describes the many challenges that adolescent girls face in the developing world–and what it takes for adolescent girls to serve as catalysts for positive change in their communities.

From the post:

Adolescent girls in the developing world today face greater disadvantages and more limited opportunities than boys the same age. They may be out of school, away from home, married, or trapped in a cycle of exploitative work and poverty. They experience multiple forms of violence and they are disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic. They are often difficult to reach and overlooked by social and community-based programs and services.

Research has shown that the best way to empower the poorest adolescent girls in the poorest communities — the ones most in need — is to put them in the position to determine the course of their own lives. To do this, we need to improve their health, social safety net, and financial knowledge and status. It will take concerted focus from policymakers, program managers, and champions to ensure that these girls have the tools they need. Today, the world’s first observance of the International Day of the Girl Child, is the perfect time to rededicate ourselves to this goal.

This is already happening: yesterday, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) announced a $20 million commitment to reach the most marginalized adolescent girls at risk of child marriage, continuing its longstanding partnership with the Population Council and other organizations. But this dedication must continue and more groups need to get involved.

Read the full post here.