- This year's International Day of the Girl Child is dedicated to "Empowering Adolescent Girls". Investing in girls, their education, health and security is the key to promoting stable, secure and prosperous societies.
- Parlementair Documentatie Centrum
Around the world girls and young women are working hard to make this world a better place. Today the EU salutes the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Malala Yousafzai and Indian children’s activist Kailash Satyarthi. Both have fought tirelessly for a girl’s right to education. The EU already acknowledged the outstanding bravery of Malala when the European Parliament awarded her the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2013.
As the case of Malala shows, adolescent girls and young women are often exceptionally accomplished, but they are also particularly vulnerable. Girls and young women often excel at school and university when they are given a chance to go. Yet, as they grow up, girls and young women often find it more difficult to rise to the top than their male counterparts – many are even forced to drop out of the workforce completely and are marginalised in society.
This is why the EU works hard to fight harmful traditional practices that prevent girls form prospering such as early forced marriage and female genital mutilation. One in seven girls marries before they reach the age of 15. Once married, girls are often taken out of school and have a higher risk of early pregnancy and disease.
Addressing violence, inherent discrimination and lack of access to health services is key to long term stability. The EU is also investing heavily in girl’s education. Every year a girl spends in school is likely to improve her health, it also leads to smaller families, greater incomes and boosts overall economic growth.
The EU seeks to address the root causes of poverty and social fragility by funding hundreds of projects around the world as part of its comprehensive approach towards development and conflict prevention. Ensuring that girls feel respected and valued in society is the first step to breaking down the barriers of discrimination. It’s also the key to building prosperous societies for both women and men.
Today we remember that empowering girls and women is not just our moral duty, it is also the solution to many of the greatest challenges we face in the quest for development and peace: Investing in girls is investing in peace and prosperity.