women and girls
Motivated by this profound injustice that touches the lives of so many young women and girls at the margin, we at Rights4Girls
"Girls and women of color are experts on their own lives -- our role is to listen to them."
While women's empowerment is crucial, girls' empowerment is also one of the most promising strategies we have to achieve sustainable development. Ensuring that girls are healthy, educated, and enabled to speak out for their own rights is key to creating a better world - for girls, their families, communities, and countries.
An epidemic sweeping across southern and eastern Africa reminds me of a hard truth in public health: diseases thrive in places where there is inequity and lack of opportunity. That epidemic -- HIV among adolescent girls and young women -- is threatening to roll back many gains made in the fight against HIV in the past 15 years.
What lies ahead is even more exciting. The acknowledgment that investments in girls and women are not only important, but the bedrock for sustainable development and progress for all, has never been higher. There is an enormous momentum right now.
There is nothing wrong with having HIV. I tell people that I love myself and that I am not less because of HIV. And as an HIV advocate, I help other women living with HIV deal with the disease, and make sure they know that it is not the end of the world.
“The roots of patriarchy are so deep, that you cannot uproot them. So what do you have to do? Cut off its every branch.”
Substantial media attention has been given to the plight of women and girls as it relates to slavery and trafficking internationally. Here too it is corruption that is a critical factor. This massive crime succeeds in part as gangsters bribe border officials, police and other public servants.
With an estimated seven billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, it has also become easier to reach almost every household on earth with important information to influence their lifestyle and their choices. The pursuit of the SDGs will no longer stay the purview of the polity or parliaments but is in all of our hands. We must use our access to technology as a tool to shape our common journey.
Here in Zimbabwe, "time poverty" is a significant and often-overlooked barrier to girls' education. Too many girls don't have time to play with other girls or to do the things that children should be doing because they have so many other responsibilities.
Imagine a world where all women and girls are free to participate fully in their communities, to become innovators and to lend their leadership to solve our shared global crises. That is the vision of countless women's rights activists worldwide.
We need education systems that target our efforts on the most vulnerable children or we will further exacerbate existing inequalities by leaving them behind -- inequalities that will undermine education's contribution to healthier and more peaceful societies.
Education and health. Intertwining education and health can ensure girls can not only survive, but thrive and reach their full potential. Separately, education and health are important for every girl. Linked together, they could change the world.
The same social rules that keep us from cutting in line at the bank can help us prevent gender-based violence.
The thing that will tell us whether we are really standing on the verge of a transformative path to progress - is whether leaders who met in Addis Ababa will follow up on their promises with political and financial commitments. We are worried.