CSW 55 Online Discussion – Response to Question 3

I lived in Ethiopia for 16 years – what we are talking about here is irrelevant for girls and young women who live in the countryside.  Undoubtedly, what I am going to say is true not just for Ethiopia but many African Countries.  We are not merely talking of restricted access to education for girls or poor quality education but of survival.  How talk of education when there is no food, minimal shelter and no health care.  How deal with gender stereotypes and gender violence in such situations?  The cycle of poverty is vicious.  We need resources at national level and we need those resources to be equitably distributed to all the citizens particularly those who live in extreme poverty and don’t have access to basic needs.  I am aware of many UN documents addressing this situation – 2nd Decade for Poverty Eradication, Resolution on the Right to Food, Resolution on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor, the Millennium Development Goals to name but a few.  A strategy with adequate resource allocation for the implementation of basic human rights – food, shelter, health, education with GIRLS, BOYS, WOMEN AND MEN’S PARTICIPATION from inception through planning and execution is critical for bringing about change in discriminatory practices, gender inequality and poverty eradication.  I agree with MareeAnn that change is incremental and ‘generational’.  I have seen this in Ethiopia where girls and women, who were illiterate and unskilled, initially became skilled, then literate but their children completed secondary education and their children in turn today are aiming for tertiary education.   This was achieved through NGO school sponsorship from KG to University but girls and women in the countryside are left behind, ignored, are non-persons.

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