The Working Group on Girls was honored to be joined by Her Excellency, Ambassador Sima Bahous of the Permanent Mission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jourdan to the United Nations, to raise the needs of the Girl Child during the first week of the High Level Political Forum . Her Excellency (center) was warmly welcomed to the event by the Moderator Deisha, and Laura both Working Group on Girls, Girl Advocates.
Her Excellency highlighted the fact that the SDGs do not exclude the girl child nor is the girl child confined to SDG 5. In fact, the girl child is impacted for the better by implementation of all the goals but particularly by SDGs 6, 7 and 11, under review this year. The education of girls is key to their empowerment and further, girls are change agents in their communities and in society. They are often affected by social stigma and misunderstanding. We must never stop advocating for equality and justice.
Winifred Doherty introduced the theme from the perspective of the SDG’s under review. Read the text Raising the needs of Girls
Panelists included Dr Rimah Salah, Former Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, who starting by saying that in both peace and war the girl child is subjected to so much. She lives in the ‘shadow of inequality’ relegated to care taking, cooking, childbearing, collecting firewood and fetching water – the unpaid labour, which is often not regarded as important by the society. Peace and sustainable development are indivisible elements towards the girl child’s empowerment and well being. These elements call for innovative and transformative approaches coupled with social protection and the implementation of her human rights as outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Girls are not a trivial group. Migrant, displaced and refugee girls should not be criminalize. In fact they are agents for peace.
Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, CEO, Global Network of Women Peace Builders, shared with us the names and experiences of girls affected by war and how being engaged in the “Girl Ambassadors for Peace” program brought healing, voice, empowerment towards leadership and being agents of peace. Her sharing provided a moment of moving from head to heart and solidarity with girls who are most affected. Mavic outlined some of the challenges helping girls who are illiterate to know and understand Security Council Resolution 1325. Can you imagine the pain experienced when a girl child is a discriminated against as a ‘terrorist widow’? How promote a narrative of peace? How change mindset from ‘violence is cool’ to ‘peace is cool’? How shift the burden from the girl child to the perpetrator? Techniques include participatory theater and economic empowerment.
Devika Kumar, presented an initiative she undertook following a visit to India and discovering the harsh reality for girls there during their menstruation days caused by lack of opportunities to use and have access to menstrual hygiene products. In response to this reality Devika created the MAHI project See more here Here are some statistics about the reality
- 23% of girls in rural areas drop out of school due to menstruation
- 53% of school girls were never provided any type of education about menstruation
- 27% do not have access to pads, tampons, or other management materials
WGG Girl Advocate Deisha and Laura did a fabulous job – Deisha moderating and Laura responding to the panelists presentations. Both Advocates recalled their experiences with WGG over the past two years from the ‘Girls Speak Out’ on October 11 to the Commission on the Status of Women and how they have developed and grown – deepening their understanding of the issues that girls face, assuming leadership roles and taking their seats at the table on behalf of all girls.