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Daniele Grivel
on Fri, January 11, 2013 at 02.22 pm

January 2013-Inequalities faced by girls

Details:

11-18 January 2013

Inequalities faced by girls (UNV/Canadian Crossroads International)

Dear friends and colleagues,

Since the beginning of our discussion on Young People and Inequalities in the post-2015 development agenda several posts mentioned that gender inequality impedes economic and social development. 

Inequalities faced by young people take a specific shape when they are addressed through a gender lens. Girls and young women often suffer from gender specific discrimination and disadvantages due to cultural, economic and social reasons.

Therefore, we would like to focus the discussion of the coming week on inequalities faced by girls. We invite you take part in this online discussion, co-moderated by the UN Volunteers programme and Canadian Crossroads International, taking place from 11 January to 18 January 2013.

The discussion is an opportunity to discover how girls and young women can proactively change their traditional roles in society. We would like recognition of the role of girls as valuable members of society and as agents of change. When provided with the opportunity to experience new roles and take on new responsibilities, they are not only in a better position to actively contribute to their communities, but also to receive greater recognition for their contribution and develop their self-esteem. Improving the situation of girls will ultimately improve the well-being of society as a whole.

To kick off the conversation, we invite you to respond to the following questions:

1. What are the inequalities faced by girls in their societies and why do these gender inequalities exist? 
2. What actions are successfully challenging these gender inequalities?
3. How can the civic engagement of girls help redress the inequalities that they face in society?

To share your thoughts and experiences, please post your response to the discussion questions in the comments box below. Comments are welcome in any of the sixty languages supported by Google Translate.

We look forward to hearing from you on how to address inequalities faced by girls in the post-2015 development agenda.

Kazumi Ikeda-Larhed, United Nations Volunteers
Karen Takacs, Canadian Crossroads International

Contact: inequalities@worldwewant2015.org
Discussion web site: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/290113

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Public
Carmela Salzano from
Mon, February 18, 2013 at 09.29 am

What actions are successfully challenging gender inequalities?

 

Many vocational skills training courses for girls and young women tend to reinforce societal biases associated with household, reproductive and carer positions, rather than challenging and transforming gender roles and carving out new pathways towards gender equity and economic empowerment. In 2002, UNESCO launched its regional “Technology-based Training for Marginalized Girls” project in South East Asia to facilitate the insertion of girls into occupations and technical and vocational training streams traditionally dominated by men and, in doing so, contribute towards achieving the third EFA Goal: “Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes.”

 

Pilot projects were implemented in Cambodia, Indonesia and Nepal, which generated subsequent lessons for programme replication and policy formulation. The planning process took into consideration the multiple needs and struggles of young girls living in remote and impoverished communities, establishing a project framework, learning methodology and delivery arrangements around family and communal obligations and the natural learning rythm of the trainees.  All of the courses built upon existing local technological systems and practical experience (for example - seri-culture and silk weaving; livestock and poultry farming; mechanics etc) with entry points through both the formal vocational training system and a diverse range of non-formal training providers already playing a role as intermediaries and development actors in the target communities.

 

Aside from skills acquisition, the programme led to significant advances on a number of levels. In the first instance, it gently opened up discourse in the community around how adolescent girls and women can contribute to the welfare of their families, and communal poverty reduction efforts, through their new-found productive skills. Through understanding how economic empowerment is linked to nutrition, health care, sanitation, income and employment generation etc, the courses in effect acted as a nexus for broader discussion across different development themes. Secondly, there was heightened awareness of gender and equity issues among the extended families of the trainees, village elders, vocational school instructors and local education planners. Most importantly however, since most of the trainees had had little connection with formal learning environments, their gradual empowerment through the learning process enabled them to develop positive attitudes about themselves and aim beyond long-held community expectations of their traditional roles.

 

For more information, please see the report: Technology-based Vocational Skills Training for Marginalized Girls and Young Women (unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0016/.../162605e.pdf )

Consultation Facilitator from
Thu, February 14, 2013 at 11.45 pm

Thank you to all those who took part in the discussion.


Please find below a summary of the sub-discussion on Girls, Young Women and Inequalities moderated by UNV:


Final Discussion Summary - Girls and Young Women sub-discussion

Anonymous from
Mon, January 21, 2013 at 04.47 pm

Just read about an interesting and innovative approach to overcoming the challenges that girls and women face: Catapult.org, a crowdfunding platform aimed at gender equality.

Anush Aghabalyan from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 11.25 pm

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)


In every walk of life girls and young women lag behind boys and young men due to persistent discrimination, inequality and injustice. For millions of girls worldwide, their dreams, ambitions and plans shatter only because they are girls.




“I wish a world would come where wings are not clipped just because you are a girl


Where laughter is not forbidden just because you are a girl


Where dreams are not stolen just because you are a girl……..”


(From submission on the World We Want for Girls site by WAGGGS)

Yet, girls and young women are important agents of change and have the right to grow up and live in an environment free of violence and discrimination, where good education and decent job prospects are not distant dreams. The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) launched The World We Want for Girls campaign to address this injustice and build the vision of the better world for girls. For WAGGGS launched the World We Want for Girls blog where hundreds of girls shared their vision of the better world and conducted the World We Want for Girls global survey to find out what the Perfect world would look like and what needs to happen for this to become a reality.


 


  • The Survey revealed that 51.5 per cent of the respondents found it sometimes or often challenging to be a girl where they lived and 2 per cent who felt it was usually very difficult. And nearly 45 per cent of respondents thought that where they lived it was more difficult for a girl to reach her full potential compared to boys.

 


  • Attitude towards girls and stereotypes, assigned gender roles and social expectations were the crosscutting themes and were identified as the major impediment for the girls to reach their fullest potential in .Respondents also identified attitude towards girls as the most important building block. The blog submissions emphasized that for the world to be a better place for girls, attitudes towards girls need to be changed. Girls need to feel respected, valued, loved, which boosts their self-confidence and self-respect.

 


 



  • Closely linked with the theme above is the importance of Female leadership, empowerment and role models. Absence of role models is limiting future aspirations of girls and young women, and as such had been also mentioned among major impediments for girls to reach their fullest potential. Lack of opportunity to participate in and be represented in decision-making was voiced among top five biggest issues facing the girls.

 




  • Education for girls and young women is featuring prominently as an important enabler of the World We Want for Girls. Education was ranked the highest among the issues that should form part of the next global development agenda. Besides addressing universal primary education for all girls, survey responses also highlighted importance of university education for girls and addressing social norms and expectations in the choice of school and university subjects for girls and young women. Survey revealed that stereotypes of the type “math and science are for boys” steer away girls from these subjects. Meanwhile there is a strong correlation between education and future employment perspectives and these traditional gender divisions limit career choices for young women in adult life, lead to gender pay gap and explains why few women pursue science and engineering careers.




  • Closely linked with education, Employment and decent job opportunities for young women is another important enabler for the World We Want for Girls. The Survey respondents thought that lack of employment opportunities and discrimination on the basis of gender in the labour market were among the major obstacles for young women. Unemployment/underemployment is identified among the top three biggest issues girls and young women are facing today. Gender pay gap, lack of career promotion and professional development opportunities and leadership roles, unfair recruitment process are just a few of manifestations of the discrimination. Among major factors contributing to discrimination that respondents identified were: prejudices with regard to women’s work related with “traditional” role of women as carers, housewives, etc.; balancing work and private life with no/not effective social support mechanisms in place; occupational segregation (including horizontal and vertical), traditional gender divisions with regards to choice of male and female subjects in schools and universities, etc.




  • Sexualization and objectification of girls and young women and media portrayals was considered the biggest issue facing girls with 67.5 per cent of overall responses. Along with focus on body image and appearance it was also considered one of the reasons why girls found it more difficult to reach their fullest potential as compared with boys.




  • Violence against girls and young women was the second biggest issue faced by girls and young women. Respondents from both developed and developing economies rated this as the first or second most important issue, demonstrating the universality of the challenge. Respondents also thought that for the World We Want for Girls to become a reality all girls need to feel safe at home and in the community.

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 11.10 pm

¿Qué acciones están desafiando con éxito las desigualdades de género?


Las acciones que distintas organizaciones estan tomando y estan teniendo resultados son por medio de la educacion,en donde se esta capacitando a niñas, niños, jovenes y padres de familia sobre los mismos derechos y las mismas oportunidades de superacion que tienen tanto los niños como las niñas, en centros educativos y en comunidades. Tambien se esta capacitando a padres de familia como educar en equidad de genero a sus hijas e hijos desde pequeños y ser ellos los principales actores en el cumplimiento de la equidad de genero.


Tambien que las organizaciones del Estado deberian de poner mayor interes en el cumplimiento de las leyes de equidad de genero que ya existen.


Y nosotros devemos de poner en practica la equidad en todo lugar en que estemos: en la familia, en la escuela, en el trabajo y seamos ejemplo de que si ponemos en practica la equidad para que otros nos miren y tambien la pongan en practica. Somos nosotros quienes tenemos en nuestras manos cambiar esa desiguald que existe.


 

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 11.07 pm

Realizar visitas de sensibilización sobre la dignidad de los niños, niñas adolescentes y jóvenes

Crear ambiente de confianza, respeto y ayuda para todos

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 11.05 pm

Crear y fortalecer los grupos existentes

Fortalecer los temas sobre valores y principios

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 11.01 pm

Estudiar y aprovechar los espacios de preparación que nos dan nuestros padres

Capacitar y sensibilizar a los padres sobre los derechos de los Niños, niñas, adolescentes y jóvenes

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 10.59 pm

Por falta de respeto a los derechos humanos

Por ignorancia

por no aprovechar los espacios y oportunidades de preparación

Anush Aghabalyan from
Sat, January 19, 2013 at 12.10 am

Action Plan for Girls by World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)


In every walk of life girls and young women lag behind boys and young men due to persistent discrimination, inequality and injustice. For millions of girls worldwide, their dreams, ambitions and plans shatter only because they are girls. Yet, girls and young women are important agents of change and have the right to grow up and live in an environment free of violence and discrimination, where good education and decent job prospects are not distant dreams.


The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) launched The World We Want for Girls campaign to address this injustice and build the vision of the better world for girls. As part of the campaign it conducted survey and created a blog to find out what the Perfect world would look like and what needs to happen for this to become a reality.


The Survey revealed that 51.5 per cent of the respondents found it sometimes or often challenging to be a girl where they lived and 2 per cent who felt it was usually very difficult. And nearly 45 per cent of respondents thought that where they lived it was more difficult for a girl to reach her full potential compared to boys.


  • Attitude towards girls and stereotypes, assigned gender roles and social expectations were the crosscutting themes and were identified as the major impediment for the girls to reach their fullest potential. Respondents also identified attitude towards girls as the most important building block (for the better world for girls. Tumblr submissions reflected the same pattern emphasizing that for the world to be a better place for girls, attitudes towards girls need to be changed. Girls need to feel respected, valued, loved, which boosts their self-confidence and self-respect.

 


  • Gender equality and non-discrimination is a precondition for the World We Want for Girls. Vertical and horizontal discrimination, glass ceiling and male-dominated society are among the few reasons that hinder girls and young women from achieving better life and career opportunities. Gender equality is also identified among the top three issues that should form part of the next global development agenda beyond 2015.

 


  • Closely linked with the theme above is the importance of Female leadership, empowerment and role models. Role models were mentioned as the second priority group after the family in the Relationships building block emphasizing just how important this is for girls and young women. Absence of role models is limiting future aspirations of girls and young women, and as such had been also mentioned among major impediments for girls to reach their fullest potential. Lack of opportunity to participate in and be represented in decision-making was voiced among top five biggest issues facing the girls.

 


  • Education for girls and young women is featuring prominently as an important enabler of the World We Want for Girls. Education was ranked the highest among the issues that should form part of the next global development agenda. Besides addressing universal primary education for all girls, survey responses also highlighted importance of university education for girls and addressing social norms and expectations in the choice of school and university subjects for girls and young women. Survey revealed that stereotypes of the type “math and science are for boys” steer away girls from these subjects. Meanwhile there is a strong correlation between education and future employment perspectives and these traditional gender divisions limit career choices for young women in adult life, lead to gender pay gap and explains why few women pursue science and engineering careers.

 


  • Closely linked with education, Employment and decent job opportunities for young women is another important enabler for the World We Want for Girls. The Survey respondents thought that lack of employment opportunities and discrimination on the basis of gender in the labour market were among the major obstacles for young women. Unemployment/underemployment is identified among the top three biggest issues girls and young women are facing today. Gender pay gap, lack of career promotion and professional development opportunities and leadership roles, unfair recruitment process are just a few of manifestations of the discrimination. Among major factors contributing to discrimination that respondents identified were: prejudices with regard to women’s work related with “traditional” role of women as carers, housewives, etc.; balancing work and private life with no/not effective social support mechanisms in place; occupational segregation (including horizontal and vertical), traditional gender divisions with regards to choice of male and female subjects in schools and universities, etc.

 


  • Sexualization and objectification of girls and young women and media portrayals was considered the biggest issue facing girls with 67.5 per cent of overall responses. Along with focus on body image and appearance it was also considered one of the reasons why girls found it more difficult to reach their fullest potential as compared with boys.

 


  • Violence against girls and young women was the second biggest issue faced by girls and young women. Respondents from both developed and developing economies rated this as the first or second most important issue, demonstrating the universality of the challenge. Respondents also thought that for the World We Want for Girls to become a reality all girls need to feel safe at home and in the community.

 


  • Human rights and freedom of choice and opportunities –  Survey results demonstrated that for the World We Want for Girls to become a reality girls’ human rights need to be respected and girls should have the opportunity to speak freely and voice their needs.
Anush Aghabalyan from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 10.42 pm

fe girls and young women lag behind boys and young men due to persistent discrimination, inequality and injustice. For millions of girls worldwide, their dreams, ambitions and plans shatter only because they are girls.




“I wish a world would come where wings are not clipped just because you are a girl


Where laughter is not forbidden just because you are a girl


Where dreams are not stolen just because you are a girl……..”


(From submission on the World We Want for Girls site by WAGGGS)

Yet, girls and young women are important agents of change and have the right to grow up and live in an environment free of violence and discrimination, where good education and decent job prospects are not distant dreams. The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) launched The World We Want for Girls campaign to address this injustice and build the vision of the better world for girls. For WAGGGS launched the World We Want for Girls blog where hundreds of girls shared their vision of the better world and conducted the World We Want for Girls global survey to find out what the Perfect world would look like and what needs to happen for this to become a reality.


 


  • The Survey revealed that 51.5 per cent of the respondents found it sometimes or often challenging to be a girl where they lived and 2 per cent who felt it was usually very difficult. And nearly 45 per cent of respondents thought that where they lived it was more difficult for a girl to reach her full potential compared to boys.

 


  • Attitude towards girls and stereotypes, assigned gender roles and social expectations were the crosscutting themes and were identified as the major impediment for the girls to reach their fullest potential in .Respondents also identified attitude towards girls as the most important building block. The blog submissions emphasized that for the world to be a better place for girls, attitudes towards girls need to be changed. Girls need to feel respected, valued, loved, which boosts their self-confidence and self-respect.

 


 



  • Closely linked with the theme above is the importance of Female leadership, empowerment and role models. Absence of role models is limiting future aspirations of girls and young women, and as such had been also mentioned among major impediments for girls to reach their fullest potential. Lack of opportunity to participate in and be represented in decision-making was voiced among top five biggest issues facing the girls.

 




  • Education for girls and young women is featuring prominently as an important enabler of the World We Want for Girls. Education was ranked the highest among the issues that should form part of the next global development agenda. Besides addressing universal primary education for all girls, survey responses also highlighted importance of university education for girls and addressing social norms and expectations in the choice of school and university subjects for girls and young women. Survey revealed that stereotypes of the type “math and science are for boys” steer away girls from these subjects. Meanwhile there is a strong correlation between education and future employment perspectives and these traditional gender divisions limit career choices for young women in adult life, lead to gender pay gap and explains why few women pursue science and engineering careers.




  • Closely linked with education, Employment and decent job opportunities for young women is another important enabler for the World We Want for Girls. The Survey respondents thought that lack of employment opportunities and discrimination on the basis of gender in the labour market were among the major obstacles for young women. Unemployment/underemployment is identified among the top three biggest issues girls and young women are facing today. Gender pay gap, lack of career promotion and professional development opportunities and leadership roles, unfair recruitment process are just a few of manifestations of the discrimination. Among major factors contributing to discrimination that respondents identified were: prejudices with regard to women’s work related with “traditional” role of women as carers, housewives, etc.; balancing work and private life with no/not effective social support mechanisms in place; occupational segregation (including horizontal and vertical), traditional gender divisions with regards to choice of male and female subjects in schools and universities, etc.




  • Sexualization and objectification of girls and young women and media portrayals was considered the biggest issue facing girls with 67.5 per cent of overall responses. Along with focus on body image and appearance it was also considered one of the reasons why girls found it more difficult to reach their fullest potential as compared with boys.




  • Violence against girls and young women was the second biggest issue faced by girls and young women. Respondents from both developed and developing economies rated this as the first or second most important issue, demonstrating the universality of the challenge. Respondents also thought that for the World We Want for Girls to become a reality all girls need to feel safe at home and in the community.

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 10.36 pm

3. ¿Cómo puede la participación cívica de las niñas ayudan a corregir las desigualdades que enfrentan en la sociedad?


La participacion puede ser fundamental porque se puede dejar de dar la desigualdad que se esta dando con las niñas. Ya que con las mismas se abren espacios de participacion en donde se promueva la equidad de genero.


Cumplimiento de las legislaciones existentes sobre el tema de equidad de genero.


 Mayor empoderamiento de los gobiernos locales, nacionales e internacionales.

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 08.43 pm

1. What are the inequalities faced by girls in their societies and why do these gender inequalities exist?


Inheritance of family property yet they actively participate in the caregiving role
decision making of who to educate when experiencing financial constraints
When young girls get pregnant out of wedlock, they are stigmatized and blamed and the society forgets that for every pregnant girl there must be a man involved.


2. What actions are successfully challenging these gender inequalities?


Women and Girls' Empowerment programs
Equal access to education; the free primary education programs in some countries e.g. Kenya help to ensure education for all.
Role modelling as this is a source of inspiration for young girls


3. How can the civic engagement of girls help redress the inequalities that they face in society?


Legislature: Pursue Advocacy aimed at ensuring punitive laws that do not allow girls to inherit property are reviewed.
Community awareness and women empowerment
Male involvement: Demonstrate the benefits to the society at large

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 08.34 pm

Introduction

Young people and adolescents face many unique challenges in their daily lives. Young people and adolescents across the world experience stigma and discrimination in all aspects of their lives, especially adolescent girls, young women, young people who are disabled, LGBTIQ, living in rural areas, indigenous, afro-descendant, ethnic minorities, out-of-school, sex workers, domestic workers, undocumented workers, living with HIV, in conflict zones, refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, living on the street, working in the informal economy, and deprived of freedom. We are continually impacted by laws that discriminate against us and limit our ability to exercise our human rights to the fullest extent.

Such inequalities result in our unequal access to health services that do not prioritize our rights and health; violate the rights of LGBTIQ youth; educational environments that do not promote and uphold equality, human rights and freedom; employment and livelihood opportunities that do not extend to young people (in particular young people who identify as those above); persisting gender-based inequalities; and a lack of support for young people’s leadership and opportunity for involvement in decision-making processes. These are some of the many challenges that young people face. Many of the inequalities that young people and adolescents face are tied to direct violations to our right to health, right to access education,  rights to live free from violence and discrimination, among many other rights. These inequalities are a result of myriad reasons, among them, culture, sexual orientation, age, religion, and identity, etc..

 

Young People’s Access to Health Services

Access to appropriate health services is fundamental to upholding the universal rights of every individual; including young people and adolescents. However young people’s health needs and wants are often overlooked in the provision of care and delivery of services. Due to our age, cultural or religious backgrounds, socio-economic status, sexual orientation or gender identity, among other factors, we are often denied services and information, provided with inaccurate information, stigmatized, and discriminated against.

Due to one or many of these factors that we face in health care facilities, we often choose to refrain from seeking health services; unless we are faced with severe complications, at which point we have no choice but to endure sometimes discriminatory or dangerous situations. This is more frequently observed when we attempt to seek information and services related to our sexual and or reproductive health needs. Specific examples of such situations include assumptions held by healthcare professionals regarding our needs and realities. This can result in the denial of our access to services and information.

We also often face pressure to undergo certain procedures without our consent, which directly violates our bodily autonomy and freedom of choice. Alternatively, many health systems require parental or spousal consent when we attempt to access certain sexual and reproductive health services and information; including contraceptives, STI testing, abortion services, among others. Parental and spousal consent laws often put young women in situations where they experience violence, discrimination and stigma; often resulting in them not being unable to access the services and information they need. Many of these situations can be avoided when health care professionals “receive training on youth-specific health issues and provision of adolescent and youth-friendly services through pre-service and in-service training and professional development.” (Bali Global Youth Forum Declaration, p. 4).

Similar to these experience is the continued criminalization of abortion. This is a stark example of the inequality that women face in the world. Cultural and religious barriers such as parental and spousal consent notification and/or consent or age of consent laws, and early and forced marriages, mandatory waiting periods, should never prevent access to family planning, safe and legal abortion, and other reproductive health services. As such, these services need to “support the sexual and reproductive rights of young people including ensuring access to legal and safe abortion that is affordable, accessible and free from coercion, discrimination and stigma, providing support and protection mechanisms that promote the right to choose.” (Bali Global Youth Forum Declaration, p. 4-5). Finally, the next development agenda must recognize that young people have autonomy over their own bodies, pleasures and desires.

Many of these experiences are often due to society’s ongoing denial of young people’s sexuality resulting in barriers to our access to sexual and reproductive health services. As such, we need the next framework to acknowledge our sexual health and reproductive health needs as rights; in the form of sustainable policies and legal frameworks that protect, promote and fulfill the sexual and reproductive rights of all young people. For us, this means that “every young person, including LGBTIQ young people, have equal access to the full range of evidence- and rights-based, youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education, that is respectful of young people’s right to informed consent.” (Bali Global Youth Forum Declaration, p. 11)

Reflecting on the MDGs, we must move beyond solely focusing on maternal health, to a comprehensive and integrated approach to healthcare. We, as young people, are looking for the next development agenda to include specific goals which address our “universal access to a basic package of youth-friendly health services (including mental health care and sexual and reproductive health services) that are high quality, integrated, equitable, comprehensive, affordable, needs and rights based, accessible, acceptable, confidential and free of stigma and discrimination for all young people.” (Bali Global Youth Forum Declaration, p. 4)

 

Young LGBTIQ People

Issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) are an essential part of young people’s identities and daily-lived experience. Unfortunately, all over the world, young people experience severe inequalities because of their sexual orientations and gender identities. Such inequalities persist in the form of violence, stigma, discrimination, persecution, denial of access to services and information, bullying, negative encounters with legal systems and law enforcement, among many others. Young lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people experience these human rights violations every single day.

Often the rights of LGBTIQ people are violated, especially their right to health. All people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, are entitled to the highest standard of health. Unfortunately, this right is violated on a regular basis resulting in the specific healthcare needs of LGBTIQ youth are often overlooked. Not only the physical health needs of LGBTIQ people are unmet, but also their mental health needs. Service providers often place judgment on LGBTIQ youth who attempt to access the mention and physical health services and information they require. In some cases, health services providers violate the right of LGBTIQ young people to confidentiality, thereby putting them at risk for public forms of discrimination, stigma and violence. Similarly, traditional views held by service providers create obstacles for LGBTIQ people to access the information and services they need.

Moreover, LGBTIQ young people’s rights are often neglected because they are considered against the traditional values, cultures, religions, or laws, despite the fact that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.  We need our human rights, particularly, our sexual and reproductive Rights, to be applied to all people regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity in every corner of the world and therefore those human rights must be protected and promoted.

We, as youth advocates, can no longer ignore the discrimination endured by LGBTIQ youth, and the lack of attention paid to their rights in international-level processes and decision-making. We need the next development framework to acknowledge the rights of all LGBTIQ youth - recognizing the diversity in their identities, needs and experiences. We need the next development framework to acknowledge the right of LGBTIQ youth to freedom of expression, association and assembly. Their needs and realities need to be expressed in the next development agenda, as much as any other individual or group; which is why youth sexual and reproductive rights advocates will advocate alongside LGBTIQ youth to ensure that their needs and realities are addressed in the next development agenda. Finally, LGBTIQ youth must be acknowledged as holding the same rights of all other people. This requires the future development agenda to fully include them as rights-holders in all aspects of decision-making.

 

Young people’s Access to To and Treatment In the Education System

While much progress has  been made in relation to achieving MDG 2 (Universal Access to Primary Education), as of 2010, there remains 69 million school-age children out of school. Many of the targets associated with MDG 2 will not be met. As a result, many members of today’s generation of young people will not receive basic levels of education; let alone progress to higher levels of education, or receive access to the best possible standards of education.  

In addition to the unmet need for education, those young people who do have access to varying levels of education face significant barriers to completing their education, receiving quality instruction and rights-based curriculums (including access to comprehensive sexuality education), access to non-formal educational opportunities, etc.. Those facing the most severe barriers are often the most marginalized, including young women and girls.

Gender-based inequalities persist in many countries where socio-economic, cultural and religious values give educational preference to young men and boys, preventing young women and girls from going to school, or completing secondary and tertiary levels of education. Young women and girls are also often victims of violence, stigma and discrimination, within school settings. Moreover young women are unable to continue their educational careers due to unintended pregnancies, and often cannot return to school after giving birth.

In many education systems, we are restricted to express our thoughts and selves due to school regulations. Specifically, young people often lack the opportunity to provide critical, anonymous, feedback to their schooling systems, including all levels of staff and management; despite our right to be involved in the planning, monitoring, and evaluation of our educational systems; including curriculum development.

Similarly, many education environments focus primarily on academic achievement creating unequal opportunities and disadvantages for students with diverse learning styles and needs.  These systems also create added inequalities for students with disabilities; often isolating them from their peers, making it more difficult for them to receive the training they require to be empowered to live healthy, independent lives.

Addressing and overcoming the inequalities faced by young people, regarding their access to education, requires the next development framework to include our access to free, quality and comprehensive education, at all levels. This requires that all stakeholders take active measures to ensure that the education system uphold curriculums that are rights-based, including formal and informal education, acknowledge diversity in learning needs and requirements, maintain zero-tolerance for discrimination, violence and bullying, and, most importantly, ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalized populations of young people receive the highest possible standard of education.

It is also essential that all educational curriculums include “non-discriminatory, non-judgmental, rights-based, age appropriate, gender-sensitive health education including youth-friendly, evidence based comprehensive sexuality education that is context specific.” (Bali Global Youth Forum Declaration, p. 8). Comprehensive sexuality education helps equip us with the skills and information we need to protect ourselves against STIs and unwanted pregnancies, enjoy our sexualities and experience equitable relationships, and understand our sexual and reproductive health systems and needs.

 

Young people’s Access to Decent Employment & Livelihood Options

Young people often experience a range of inequalities when it comes to their ability to transition from the education system to the workforce. Many of these inequalities stem from socio-economic, political, cultural and religious inequalities. We may also face challenges accessing decent employment and other livelihood options based on age and our genders.

Young people, mainly first-time job seekers, find themselves trapped in the dilemma of the job sector, whereby they have difficulty finding find a job because they don’t have enough experience in the field and they need a job to get experienced! In the workplace many young girls suffer from gender and sexual harassment, affecting their safety and well-being in the. Young women are also often subjected to mandatory pregnancy testing and risk losing their jobs if they are found to be pregnant. Many young people are often subjected to mandatory HIV testing, thereby also risking the loss of employment if they are found out to be, or suspected of being HIV-positive. Similarly, LGBTIQ young people often experience stigma and discrimination in the workplace, by their co-workers or employers, sometimes forcing them to mask their identities, putting them at risk for physical and psychological violence. 

Reflecting on these challenges and realities, we need the next development framework to “ensure legal recognition of undocumented workers including migrants, decriminalize sex work, and eliminate mandatory medical checks that are used as a basis for discrimination, especially mandatory HIV, and pregnancy testing in the general protection, respect and fulfilment of the rights of all young people to decent employment.” (Bali Global Youth Forum Declaration, p. 15). Addressing these inequalities requires the development of programs that ensure smooth transition of young people from school to the workplace. We also need programmes and policies that bridge the gender gaps that exist and protect young girls from all forms of violence that they could be subjected to.

Overcoming these challenges also requires that the next development agenda to address the specific needs of  young people, particularly: girls, women, young people who are disabled, LGBTQI, living in rural areas, indigenous, afro-descendant, ethnic minorities, out-of-school, sex workers, domestic workers, undocumented workers, living with HIV, in conflict zones, refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, living on the street, working in the informal economy, and deprived of freedom, by guaranteeing their: “...right to decent employment through effective policies and programmes that generate employment, which is stable, safe, secure, non-discriminatory, and provides a decent wage and opportunities for career development...The rights of young people at work [should] be adhered to, including the right to fair hiring, and to join and organize labor unions, consistent with international conventions." (Bali Global Youth Forum Declaration, p. 13)

 

Gender-based inequalities: Young Women and Girls

Many young young women and girls, especially in developing countries, continue to undergo harmful traditional practices, such as forced circumcision and genital mutilation, early and forced marriage, gender-based and sexual violence, corrective rape for young lesbians and transgender people, forced early childbearing, among others, all resulting in violations of our basic human rights.

Central to these violations are our rights to bodily autonomy and informed consent. Young women and girls, often young women living with HIV, indigenous women, gender non-conforming women, young women and girls who are disabled, etc., often undergo forced sterilization, forced abortion, and other procedures that occur without their prior and full informed consent.

Unfortunately, many of these persisting inequalities and rights-violations occur because of perceived gender stereotypes and biases that are perpetuated by cultural, religious, traditional, socio-economic and political factors. These factors limit our freedom of choice, reduce our ability to access sexual and reproductive health services, increase our chances of experiencing stigma, discrimination and violence; all because we are young women and girls. It is therefore essential that the next development framework adopt a proactive stance regarding the protection and promotion of the rights of young women and girls and provide them with appropriate mechanism to hold the perpetrators of these violations accountable.

Young women and adolescent girls need the protection and promotion of their right to bodily autonomy by guaranteeing our right to make free and informed choices regarding our sexuality and reproductive health. It is therefore essential that the next development framework clearly stand in support of our right to access safe abortion services as part of a comprehensive and integrated package of sexual and reproductive health services.

Similarly, the next development agenda must include specific actions to eliminate all forms of harmful traditional practices and psychological, physical and sexual violence, including gender based violence; violence against women; bullying in the home, school, workplace and community; sexual coercion; and female genital mutilation, amongst others. Perpetrating violence, discrimination and stigma is a gross violation of numerous human rights. Looking beyond 2015, governments, UN agencies, civil society and all stakeholders must adopt a zero-tolerance approach to all cases of violence, discrimination and stigma committed against young women and girls.  

Ultimately, gender equality must be a cross-cutting theme in all goals of the next development agenda and not siloed in specific “women’s” goals. All issues - employment, sanitation, access to water, climate change, education, etc. - have a gendered component that must be recognized through specific targets and indicators. It is essential that the next development agenda address gender-based inequalities by paying particular attention to our rights.

 

Young People’s Access to Decision-Making Processes

When diverse youth constituencies are empowered to meaningfully participate in decision-making, they are able to shape the policies and programmes that affects their lives, voice their needs and realities, and strengthen their skills and experiences. Unfortunately, young people experience many challenges when attempting to have their voices heard in formal decision-making spaces, at local, national, regional and international levels. Often these challenges stem from decision-makers unwillingness to engage young people, persisting levels of stigma and discrimination (particularly among the most marginalized populations of  young people; including young sex-workers, LGBTIQ youth, migrant youth, among others), tokenism, and other biases against young people.

Young people, especially those that face the most inequality, must be meaningfully involved in the development process. Reaching these most marginalized young people may require special effort from states and UN agencies as they might not be able to access the online consultations that other young people in, for example, urban centers or developed countries, can.

As youth advocates, we are the ones who are best positioned to make decisions about our health and well-being. Similarly, we know what issues affect us most. The next development framework should and will have the most impact on todays and tomorrows generation of young people. It is therefore essential that the needs and realities of young people be not only at the center of the next development agenda, but also the ongoing review of the Millennium Development Goals. We can begin to achieve this by engaging  young people in consultations, supporting young people to be heard by their decision-makers and prioritizing the meaningful participation of  young people, particularly the most diverse,* in the next development agenda.

Concretely, the next development framework should encourage governments to promote and monitor political reform to include young people in policy-making and implementation, regardless of socio-economic and cultural background, in line with international human rights standards, and should have indicators on removal of legal, policy and regulatory barriers that hinder the meaningful participation and empowerment of young people to exercise and claim their rights.” (Bali Global Youth Forum Declaration, p. 18).

* that are (but not limited to) Young People Living with HIV, LGBTI, indigenous, afro-descendants, persons with disabilities, marginalized ethnicities, religious minorities, migrants that are documented and undocumented, drug users, disadvantaged economic and social groups, young parents, young women, men who have sex with men, refugees, migrants, young people in conflict and emergency situations, pregnant girls, dropouts, displaced people, language minorities, asylum seekers, living on the streets, working in the informal economy, adolescent girls, sex workers and deprived of freedom amongst others. (Bali Global Youth Forum Declaration, p. 16)

 

Submission by the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR). The YCSRR is an international organization of young people (ages 18-29 years) committed to promoting adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive rights at the national, regional and international levels. We are students, researchers, lawyers, health care professionals, educators, development workers, and most importantly, we are all dedicated activists.

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 07.20 pm

1. What are the inequalities faced by girls in their societies and why do these gender inequalities exist? 
2. What actions are successfully challenging these gender inequalities?

3. How can the civic engagement of girls help redress the inequalities that they face in society?

Every year, 14–16 million adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 give birth, and pregnancy-related deaths are the leading cause of death for girls this age in low- and middle-income countries. An estimated three million girls aged 15-19 undergo unsafe abortions every year. In low and middle income countries, over 30% of girls marry before they are 18 years of age; around 14% before the age of 15. Only 36% of young men and 24% of young women aged 15-24 in low and middle income countries have comprehensive and correct knowledge of how to prevent HIV. Education is a major protective factor for early pregnancy[2]

Recognizing that gender inequality exists means recognizing that the experiences and realities of women and girls in accessing their sexual and reproductive health and rights are different than it is for men and boys. This does not mean that it is always easier for men and boys. Instead it means acknowledging that in many societies women and girls are not viewed as equal to men and boys. Gender norms presume that men are of greater value, are smarter, are stronger, and virile.  Women and girls on the other hand are viewed as obedient virgins, mothers, heterosexuals, etc.  They are viewed as vulnerable instead of as rights-holders.  These norms disempower women and girls and result in having less power to control their own bodies and sexuality, less access to resources and services, to education, to determine how income is spent, and less mobility, among other things.

Gender inequality affects all aspects of women and girls lives and gender norms and stereotypes reinforces inequalities at all levels: individual, social, and structural levels.  This system sustains itself because of power- who has it and who does not.  This is especially true when talking about women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights.  Leading healthy, fulfilled, and empowered lives means being able to freely exercise control over one’s own sexuality, deciding what happens to your own body and determining the course of one’s life, regardless of sex, age, ability, HIV status, etc, free from violence or coercion.  It also means protection and promotion of all peoples human rights so that women and girls have accurate information and access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and are empowered to make informed decisions about their own lives.  

Youth participation matters.  Young people are best positioned to participate in the development and implementation of programs and policies that address their sexual and reproductive lives.  Beyond that, it is a fundamental human right.  The full participation of those most affected by these programs and policies, especially adolescent girls and young women, is vital to a comprehensive development agenda post-2015. 

 

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 05.56 pm

If we ever thought, even for a moment that girls were treated equally and with respect, the illusion has been  so clearly and brutally shattered over the past few months, with the rape and murder of the young woman in Delhi and the horrific news about Malala Yousafzai, the 14 year old girl from Pakistan who was hunted down and shot by the Taliban for the sin of simply going to school.   These are clearly  extreme cases, but they have have shed a very bright light on the fact that many girls around the world do not get to enjoy the most basic of human rights.


Around the world, girls face many significant barriers when trying to get educated and make a living, such as early and forced marriage, abuse and extreme poverty – as many comments in this discussion have noted. And while there is so much to do at all levels, the examples that have been shared here demonstrate that there are solutions - from girls clubs in Swaziland to outreach with girls in IDP camps in Northern Uganda.  But it does require concentrated investment in women and girls.  Women and girls are carrying out some amazing and inspiring work to change their communities and their world.

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 05.18 pm

Like Daniele  shared below with the sports exampel, I too think girls' empowerment through collaborative shared activities can have a dramatic result.  Our local partner in Swaziland the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse piloted Girls' Empowerment Clubs in schools in part to support victims of sexual abuse, but also as a prevention strategy. One in three girls are victims of sexual abuse before the age of 18 in Swaziland. The results of the Girls’ Empowerment Clubs have been dramatic. In schools where clubs were active, teachers have reported that teen pregnancy has dropped by half. Girls are demonstrating greater knowledge about how to prevent gender-based violence and HIV infection. Academic performance of club members has markedly improved.  We are working closely with SWAGAA to expand this program. Over the next five years, we want to empower more than 4,000 girls at risk of sexual violence and HIV infection. We want to equip them to protect themselves from sexual abuse and assert their rights. That means creating an additional 100 girls’ clubs across Swaziland. With a critical mass of educated confident girls, able to assert their rights, we can reach a tipping point in this country of just over 1-million people....where norms and behaviours will change in what is now a very patriarchal society. These girls have the potential to the be the leaders of tomorrow.

DSW from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 04.51 pm

Post-2015 Development Agenda: towards an effective response to combating youth and gender inequalities 

Investing in young people and gender is a social justice imperative but also a key strategy for poverty reduction and socio-economic progress. Young people will soon form the majority of the seven billion world population and of many countries. Therefore the inclusion of young people and girls as a cross cutting issue in the post-2015 framework is essential to integrating human rights principles into the global development agenda and strengthening poverty reduction policies. Young people and gender should be incorporated in all aspects of the post-2015 process, from policy design and implementation to monitoring and evaluation.

 

Why should young people and gender be at the center of any sustainable strategy for poverty eradication and inclusive and sustainable development?

Low- and middle income countries are experiencing a drastic increase of their young population, which has become the largest population group in many of these countries. The median age in Sub Saharan Africa is 18 years, 15 years in Niger. A growing young population is a huge responsibility for decision makers but also an exceptional opportunity if certain conditions are met.

An active young population could become a great engine for inclusive and sustainable economic growth, if mortality and fertility rates decrease at the same time as the group of working aged people increase, as it was the case with the Asian Tigers. An economic surplus occurs when the demographic bonus (number of people of working age is higher than the number of dependent young and old people) can be transformed into a demographic dividend. As explained in the recent study Africa’s Demographic Challenges published by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development in cooperation with DSW, the demographic dividend can only been taken advantage of, if the following conditions are met[1]:

-  there is a trend of decreasing fertility and mortality rate;

-  there is an healthier and better educated employable population, notably with secondary education and vocational training;

-  job opportunities are created, which promote gender equality  i.e employing women in high position as long as they meet the qualifications

-  there is a high proportion of employable population , provided that adequate policies are  in place to avoid thriving of  child labour

In terms of policy recommendations and investments, this means:

-  simultaneous investment in education and in health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR);

-  empowerment of young people, including girls, through access to health (both at both the health facilities and at the community level through community based providers). youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services, and education, including comprehensive sexuality education in and out of school.

In the developed countries as well as in low- and middle income countries, youth unemployment is increasing and can consequently present greater risks for social and political stability, economic prosperity and the sustainability of welfare state, if not met with the adequate policies and investments.

As DSW’s example demonstrates (e.g. Fit for Life and young adolescent project Youth-to-Youth) , implementing a multi-sector approach to young people’s empowerment, through merging education about SRHR  with entrepreneurial skills, can lead to true empowerment of people and to inclusive growth and sustainable development[2].

Health inequalities and their durable negative impacts on young people, including girls

Young people are heterogeneous, dynamic and complex, and the diversity of their needs and interests requires a holistic approach to ensure their physical, mental and social well-being and empowerment to access and build new opportunities. Health issues are critical for young people as adolescence brings dramatic physical and emotional changes as well as new risks. Young people’s responses to these risks have often lifelong repercussions. Nearly two-thirds of premature deaths and one-third of the total disease burden in adults are associated with conditions or behaviours that began in their youth[3].

 

Discrimination against girls includes health inequities, notably reproductive and sexual health inequities, harmful traditional practices, gender-based violence, and social and economic discrimination, which remain the most persistent form of inequality and obstacle to girls’ and women’s empowerment. Further adding to this, girls are less likely to be literate and to have completed secondary schooling, and they are less likely to have the means to defend their rights and access justice. Because of this, young and especially girls are disproportionately affected by health problems.

Investments in the human development of young people, especially girls, are critical and should be increased. Young people, especially girls, should be involved in policy-making processes at various levels, in order to develop initiatives and policies that meet their specific needs. This is also the case for health services, which must have a special emphasis on girls. Indeed, even when young people are aware of health services, they, and girls in particular, may avoid using existing services for a variety of reasons. Firstly, there is a widespread lack of services able to attract and meet the needs of young people; secondly the services available rarely provide an appropriate setting for serving and retaining young people for follow-up visits. For example, inconvenient hours, concerns about confidentiality, fear of discrimination (in particular among sexually active girls), disrespectful treatment, and high costs are among the factors that inhibit access to services. At the same time, the use of health services by young people, depends not only on the availability, but also on their perceived need and knowledge of such services. Young people’s primary source of information is often their peers, and when accurate information is not provided, myths and misconceptions persist, often leading to persisting cycle of ill-health and poverty, which is why comprehensive sexuality education is of such importance. Appropriate measures and resources and sufficient youth-friendly health trainers should be made.

Investing in youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services for an empowered and healthy young population

Access to sexual and reproductive education and services, access to modern contraception as well as family planning prevent high health risk pregnancies such as teenage pregnancies and thereby decrease the number of unsafe abortions. Girls between 15-19 years are twice as likely to die during pregnancy or child birth as older women. In low- and middle income countries, 60 percent of unsafe abortions are amongst adolescents and youth, potentially leading to life-threatening health complications[4]. Besides negative impact on health, unintended pregnancies also have detrimental social and economic consequences for young people, including limited educational and employment opportunities as well as political participation. One of the risks of having a growing idle and non-educated young population is the emergence of conflicts and instability.

Girls aged 10 to 19 account for nearly one-fifth of all women of reproductive age[5]. The unmet need for modern contraceptive methods is the highest among the adolescent women between the age of 15 and 19[6]. In Sub-Saharan Africa and South Central and Southeast Asia, more than 60 per cent of adolescents who wish to avoid pregnancy have an unmet need for modern contraception, among which 80 per cent will face unintended pregnancy, often forcing girls to drop out of school.[7] In Sub-Saharan Africa, preventing unintended pregnancies would decrease the dropout rate by 8 to 25 per cent. Schooling improves the survival rate of future mothers and their children. Children of educated mothers, even mothers with only primary schooling are more likely to survive than children of mothers with no education[8]. The effect of secondary schooling on the health of mothers and children is well-documented.[9] Schooling also increases the ability of girls to, once graduated, engage in economically productive activities and to access better opportunities including the resources needed to seek medical care for themselves and their families.

An unintended pregnancy also has significant consequences for boys and young men who will be obliged to take responsibility for their child. They may be forced to drop out of school, marry early and seek work, where because of lack of education, may be forced into an unsafe work environment, undermining their physical, mental and social well-being as well as that of their family[10].

Young people are over-represented among people living with HIV & AIDS. The youth, 15 to 24 years old, accounted for 40% of all new HIV infections among adults in 2009[11]. Comprehensive knowledge about HIV transmission remains low among young people[12], demonstrating the urgent need for universal access to comprehensive sexuality education and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services. Although young men are more likely to have high-risk sex (without using condoms, outside of marriage, with different partners…), 58 per cent of the people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are women and girls, who too frequently cannot protect themselves from the infection due to a combination of biological (girls are more susceptible to be infected with HIV), social, cultural, legal and economic factors[13]. HIV & AIDS is progressively becoming a youth and a ‘female’ epidemic, potentially leading to stopping the decline of the mother to child infection and putting at risk the sustainable development of communities.

Ending traditional and harmful practices

Traditional and harmful practices are consequences of gender inequality. Young women and girls, who too often do not have control over decisions concerning their bodies and sexuality, can be exposed to traditional and harmful practices, among them child or early marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and human trafficking. These practices are detrimental to girls’ health and contribute significantly to mortality and morbidity, including pregnancy related diseases and complication and maternal mortality.

For instance, child or early marriage exposes girls to frequent, sometimes unwanted, unprotected sex. Too many girls and women report that their first sexual experience was forced-17% in rural Tanzania, 24% in rural Peru, and 30% in rural Bangladesh[14]. Girls under 15 are five times more likely to die during pregnancy or child birth as older women. As their bodies are not fully developed, girls are particularly at risk of pregnancy related diseases, such as obstetric fistula which, if not operated on, leads to faecal and urinary incontinence most often resulting in further medical complications, social exclusion and severe loss of life quality. Child and early marriage also leads girls to drop out of school. If no measures are adopted, in the next decade 14.2 million girls under 18 will be married every year.[15] This will rise to an average of 15.1 million girls a year, starting in 2021 until 2030, if present trends continue.[16]

Despite the call for the total elimination of the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action 1994, every year an estimated 130 to 140 million girls and women are subjected to the partial or total removal of the female genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM is mostly performed between the ages of four and twelve. Besides disabling girls and depriving them of their sexuality, girls who have been subjected to FGM are twice as likely to experience complications during childbirth.

Together, these traditions are severe human rights violations and cause severe ill health among girls, leading to lower levels of education and the physical inability to work, both with detrimental effects on the empowerment of girls and women.

Fighting violence, including gender-based violence

Violence is one of the leading causes of death among young people. Approximately 430 young people aged ten to 24 die every day through interpersonal violence[17]. Based on a human right based approach, SRHR and family planning programmes’ core task is to engage with girls and boys, women and men, families, political leaders and faith leaders to raise awareness on gender related issues, to promote the equal value of sexes, to make informed decisions about their sexuality and plan their reproductive life within a safe and supportive environment to ultimately empower them to gain ownership over their future. Activities targeting behavior change will have most effect if started early, which is why sexuality education including gender components must be made universally accessible for youth and young people.

Around the world, one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some way; one in four women has been abused during pregnancy.[18] One of the most common forms of violence against women is that performed by a husband or male partner.[19] Gender based violence has profound direct and indirect effects on a woman's health, notably sexual and reproductive health, including unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and psychological problems. Gender-based violence is sustained by a culture of silence and a denial of the seriousness of the abuse. In addition to defending the voice of women and girls and preventing gender-based violence by raising awareness on the rights and status of women and girls, SRHR and family planning programmes aim at providing safe and non-judgmental health services to help each victim to find the way that is appropriate to her to deal with the health consequences caused by gender-based violence.

How to ensure an inclusive and youth and gender-responsive post-2015 development agenda:

1. Conduct needs assessments to ensure that the new framework is responsive to the needs of young people

To draw an accurate picture of the situation and include young people as stakeholders, participants and as a cross-cutting issue in the post-2015 framework, it is essential to launch a meaningful dialogue with young people on the issues that affect their lives, from the setup of policy framework, through implementation, monitoring and evaluation. A youth-responsive policy framework should guarantee young people’s full attainment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, notably the right to the highest attainable standard of health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, the right to education and the right to non-discrimination and equality. These principles should also form the basis for analysis of the situation of young people. It is crucial during the needs assessment to analyse data according to age, sex, rural/urban, to identify the most vulnerable groups amongst young people and to define policy priorities accordingly. Moreover, qualitative data should also be taken into account (child rights, young people access to quality education and health care, decent work etc.).

2. Involve young people in both design and implementation of the post-2015 framework

A mapping of mechanisms for incorporating young people’s input into policy and programming should inform the post-2015 process. Moreover, youth should be seen as leading implementing partners in the new agenda. One way of ensuring active involvement of youth in the implementation of the post-2015 agenda would be to promote and incorporate peer-to-peer education and empower youth by knowing their rights and to hold governments, local authorities, donors, CSOs, private sector and other actors accountable. Young people hold strong potential to be effective peer-educators and are therefore key to attaining MDG-related objectives and ensuring sexual and reproductive rights for themselves as well as for peers and future generations.

3. Establish a broader set of goals, targets and indicators that resonate with the needs of youth

A post-2015 agenda should emerge from an inclusive and bottom-up approach that ensures youth participation and empowerment and integrates young people’s own account of their aspiration and values. In addition, new goals, targets and indicators which resonate with the needs and values of young people and especially girls should be set, as a follow-up on the current set of goals. The youth-related goals should address, amongst others, the specific barriers that young people and girls face regarding their ability to fully and freely exercise their sexual and reproductive health and rights - including a lack of information, of youth-friendly skilled health care professional and discrimination– and the increased risks that young women and girls face in pregnancy and childbirth. They should also answer the needs of the unprecedented number of young people entering their reproductive age.

-  Health:

  • Strengthening of health systems with ante and post natal care
  • Improve children health through basic health care and vaccination campaigns (clean water, hygiene)
  • Universal access to affordable and quality sexual and reproductive health care information and service especially to married and unmarried young women with emphasis on: prevention of unintended and early pregnancy, unsafe abortions, maternal deaths, and HIV & AIDS and sexually transmitted infections; and integration of services, especially of those related to HIV & AIDS
  • Removing political and cultural barriers to young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health information and services
  • Support youth-friendly services and community initiatives by strengthening referral systems between health facilities and community based service providers but also encourage male involvement to create knowledge about health issues and acceptance of modern contraceptives and family planning

-  Formal and informal Education:

  • Access to comprehensive sexuality education, in and out of school, and to sexual and reproductive health services, in order to enable them to plan their lives, understand and make informed decisions about their sexuality, protect themselves from HIV and sexually transmitted diseases
  • Universal access to quality education for all girls and boys (primary but also secondary), with specific attention to girls’ completion of secondary education, and eliminating female illiteracy, including by encouraging and supporting girls to go back to school after pregnancy
  • Vocational training for young women and men for relevant skills to enter the workplace

-  Girls and women empowerment and non-discrimination:

  • Women’s equal access to livelihood and employment opportunities, including equal pay with men, access to productive assets, banking and financial services, equal access to land, property and inheritance
  • Eliminating all forms of gender-based violence against women and girls and sexual abuse of boys and men, and harmful practices, including child or early marriage and female genital mutilation; prohibit expulsion from school due to pregnancy through legislative reforms and enforcement, prevention efforts engaging young people
  • Ensuring access to health, social and legal services for all victims of exploitation and human trafficking
  • Guaranteeing people’s ability to exercise the sexual and reproductive rights, including access to relevant information and services, without discrimination, coercion or violence on any grounds, regardless of age, sex, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, marital status, disability, diseases like HIV & AIDS, national origin, migrant background, language, sexual orientation, gender identity or other factors and status, through adequate and enforce legislation and by removing legal, policy, regulatory barriers and punitive provisions.

-  Involvement in decision making process:

  • Engaging young people, including girls, in governance and in political dialogue to better understand and meet their needs and demands.

- Offering job opportunities:

  • Youth-friendly job creation policy environment to ensure access to decent employment and livelihood opportunities
  • Provision of micro credits to improve the education of adult women and promote women and youth entrepreneurship
  • Invest in sectors with high need for low skilled and agricultural workers. And, once the population‘s level of education has increased, invest in knowledge intensive sectors as a second step
  • Social protection mechanisms and national social protection floors should be developed as formal employment sector grows

4. Expand sex-disaggregated and age-based research, both qualitative and quantitative, on youth poverty at both national and regional levels.

The common use of aggregate data in both global and country-level MDG reporting fails to provide evidence for an accurate assessment of the MDGs-performance by age group, masking the youth dynamics of poverty and painting a very different picture of progress. The lack of such data limits the availability of targeted scientific analysis to study the impact of poverty on young people. The post-2015 framework should be aimed at alleviating poverty for all, and have a monitoring and evaluation mechanism based on disaggregated data to ensure that there is accountability towards reaching the most vulnerable groups such as young people. In addition, governments should take special steps in collating, maintaining and disseminating quality MDG-related data.

DSW (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung) is an international development and advocacy organisation. We empower young people and communities in low- and middle-income countries by addressing the issues of population dynamics and by improving health as a way to achieve sustainable development. Headquartered in Hanover, Germany, DSW maintains four country offices in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as a liaison office in Berlin, Germany and Brussels, Belgium.

Our aim is to prevent poverty before it occurs. Our focus is on achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health services and information, which is fundamental to improving health and effectively fighting poverty.


[1]Sippel, Lilli, Tanja Kiziak, Franziska Woellert, and Reiner Klingholz. 2011. Africa’s Demographic Challenges: How a young population can make development possible, ed. Berlin: Berlin Institute for Population and Development in cooperation with DSW.

[3] WHO. “Young people, health risks and solutions”. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs345/en/index.html

[4] UNFPA. 2012. By choice, not by chance: Family planning, human rights and development. The State of the World population.

[5] Guttmacher Institute and International Planned Parenthood Federation. 2010. Facts on Satisfying the Need for Contraception in Developing Countries.

[6] UNFPA. 2012. By choice, not by chance: Family planning, human rights and development. The State of the World population.

[7] UNFPA. 2012. By choice, not by chance: Family planning, human rights and development. The State of the World population.

[8] UN. 2012. The Millennium Development Goals Report. Available at: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Resources/Static/Products/Progress2012/Engli...

[9] Sippel, Lilli, Tanja Kiziak, Franziska Woellert, and Reiner Klingholz. 2011. Africa’s Demographic Challenges: How a young population can make development possible, ed. Berlin: Berlin Institute for Population and Development in cooperation with DSW.

[10] UNFPA. 2012. By choice, not by chance: Family planning, human rights and development. The State of the World population.

[11] WHO. “Young people, health risks and solutions”. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs345/en/index.html

[12] UN. 2012. The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012. Available at: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Resources/Static/Products/Progress2012/Engli...

[13] UNAIDS. 2012. Global Report 2012

[14] WHO 2012. Violence against women. Accessed on 18 January 2013.  Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs239/en/index.html

[15] UNFPA. 2012. Marrying too young: End child marriage.

[16] UNFPA. 2012. Marrying too young: End child marriage.

[17] WHO.2013. Young People: Health risks and solution. Accessed on 14 January 2013. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs345/en/index.html

[18] UNFPA.2012. Ending Widespread violence against women. Accessed on 7 December 2012. Available at: http://www.unfpa.org/gender/violence.htm

[19] WHO.2012. Gender Based Violence. Accessed on 7December 2012. Available at: http://www.who.int/gender/violence/gbv/en/index.html

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 04.45 pm

Negative social norms and attitudes that perpetuate discrimination and inequality need to be tackled head-on if we are to achieve equality in the opportunities and capacities that girls and boys have to define and fulfil their own aspirations. 


One important way to do this is to foster spaces and opportunities for girls to understand their rights and gain the confidence and skills that they need to participate fully in their communities and societies.  To borrow terminology from Cornwall and Goetz, different forms of “political apprenticeship” need to be identified and supported.  Participation in youth clubs, school activities and local community organisations can help girls to identify and follow “pathways to empowerment”, encouraging them to take up decision making and leadership roles as they progress through to adulthood.  VSO’s experience shows that mentoring support for girls can be effective, as well as role modelling by both female and male teachers in schools.  We also need to work directly with boys, nurturing environments in which boys and girls can interact with each other on an equal basis and learn to respect the contributions that all individuals have to make. 


We explore these issues in more depth in the discussion paper that VSO submitted to the Inequalities consultation.  This makes recommendations for how the post-2015 process, framework and implementation mechanisms can advance girls’ and women’s participation in public life, drawing on the experiences of VSO volunteers and partners. The paper is available here: Advancing equality in women’s participation and influence in public life through the post-21015 framework.

Daniele Grivel from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 03.27 pm

Supporting youth and girls empowerment through sports.
I would like to share with you the Dadaab Sport and Youth Empowerment Initiative 2012, an initiative which involved Youth, girls and marginalized people in their activities.
● UNHCR implemented Dadaab Sport and Youth Empowerment Initiative between March and June 2012 in all 5 camps, funded by NIKE project, as a part of UNHCR’s protection intervention.
● It was an innovative and low-cost approach to sport programming,
where refugee youth groups were encouraged to write a proposal on community sport initiatives to acquire sport items and to contribute to either sensitize the community on Protection agenda, promote female participation in sports or promote social inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.
● UNHCR assisted 44 community sport initiatives including 1586 male and 315 female sport leaders, 300 sport clubs, 7 secondary schools,
4 vocational centers, 5 projects of youths with disabilities, 6 non-Somali community initiatives, which could reach out more than 10, 000 youth out of schools in the camp.
Some examples…
In Dagahaley camp, a youth group, Dagahaley Elite Association, organized a football training on 1 April with some 30 deaf youths to promote the social inclusion of people with disabilities.
Hormud Youth Group organized a football exhibition tournament on 7 April with 160 drug addicted youth players and some 600 audiences to sensitize the community on drug abuse.
Hagadera Youth Sport Committee, organized a one-day cleaning campaign in Hagadera camp on 8 April 2012 with 320 youth football players to encourage community based volunteer hygiene promotion.
A host community youth group, International Refugees Help, organized a 5-days football competition and workshops on 7-11 April in Dagahaley with 120 youth participants both from the host and the refugee communities to promote reconciliation and peace.
Some Quotes from the follow-up interviews… Hormud youth group: “youths were appreciating the initiative very much. we are confined in the camp thus engaging the idled youths in productive activities is important for them to be active.”
Olympic Youth Group: ”we conducted a sport league with 8 teams targeting youths who are engaged in drugs engaging. (xxx) (At the training) they were taught about what mental effects of drug abuse are, and how drug can ruin your life. After the training session in the morning, the afternoon session had the tournament, when they practiced what they were taught”


Siyad, a chairman of one of the participated youth group:  “I sent a proposal, and became one of the successful proposals. It was a HIV/AIDs sensitization soccer competition, where the theme was to kick-out the HIV/AIDs from Africa. (xxx) We had a wonderful competition, in a sense that such competition never happened before…, and the MC were there to use loud speakers supported by FIlmAid and passed the messages. We requested three MCs; English, Kiswahili and Somali speakers, who managed to run the show. All youth cerebrated this support for the community.”


A student writer from Towfiq and Ifo secondary schools: “Tuesday 19th June 2012 was a day that most of the people who were in Towfiq and Ifo secondary schools will find it hard to forget for many reasons. It was a day full of great events, with players from the six schools that were participating in the sports trying their best to be winners in their respective categories and be good ambassadors of their schools. Every player was keen to maintain the highest level of discipline as it had been emphasized that cases of indiscipline would attract severe consequences.. “We are top in both academics and co-curricular.” An unidentified student commented. “We are the role models to be emulated.””
The most interesting part of the whole event was perhaps the involvement of girls in the sports. Dagahaley secondary school presented a team of volleyball players for girls, and they showed a lot of talent and skill in their game. “I believe girls are supposed to engage in co-curricular activities in schools.” Said Hodan Abdullahi, captain of the DSS girls’ volleyball team. “It is just like engaging in debates, drama etc.”.  
********
Tom Soejima
Inter-Community Youth Relationships Officer UNHCR, Dadaab

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 02.31 pm
  1. 1.      What are the inequalities faced by girls in their societies and why do these gender inequalities exist?

Girls face many kinds of inequalities in our society.  First of all, they are the ones who are supposed to help their mother to carry out household work, and take care of their sisters and brothers. They are also in charge of doing laundry for their elder brothers and of helping their mother to cook meals for the family. Moreover, in motherless families, (because she passed away or is no more in the house), it is the girl who entirely replaces the mother in all her tasks.  During this time, boys are not held responsible for any household work. In terms of employment, women are rarely considered to occupy high level positions in companies, just because men are trusted to be stronger than women.  In addition to the fact that most people continue to believe that women should not occupy leadership positions, men tend to intimidate or use violence against women who do occupy traditionally men reserved positions, such as policeman. With the increasing level of poverty, the burden of family responsibilities rests more on women.  It is up to women to provide for their family, since men tend to give up or even vanish away. In addition to that, if the family chooses to send the children to school  using the little money that they earn, they would invest in boys rather than girls, thus giving boys more chance to get a brighter future than girls. Poverty deepens inequalities towards girls.


These inequalities exist because of the traditional belief that boys are superior to girls.  Girls have to serve boys and women have to obey men who are the natural leaders of any household.  There is a proverb in the Mossee’s ethnic group to which I belong, saying that even if the woman is tall, she does not own the house. These old fashioned believes have been perpetuated by parents and non educated women to start with.  Even men of my generation who have been educated, because they have been raised in this particular socio-cultural context, do not accept in reality the principle of gender equality, despite their tolerant and open-minded rhetoric. In order to reach a full understanding and a sincere acceptance of this concept and put it into practice, a major change in men’s habits and behavior will be needed, which entails a greater implication in the household work and a fairer and deeper work division at home.


2. What actions are successfully challenging these gender inequalities?


Education is the most important aspect to focus on. When girls are educated, they know their rights and become more aware of these inequalities and are keen to fight them.  Educated girls tend to be more assertive and to master their reproductive health, which is very important.  It will also be good to try to maintain them in school so that they can reach the highest level possible. Educated boys are also aware of girls’ rights, but this awareness needs to be furthermore reinforced so that they can behave accordingly.  Community education focusing on awareness raising activities is another crucial strategy to challenge gender inequalities. The entire community needs to be aware of the phenomenon and contribute to a change in people’s perceptions of women’s living situation in Burkina Faso.  They need to see the benefit of achieving gender equality for the entire community. Also, parents have a great responsibility and a capital role to play, since they have to raise their children in a way that  enhances and promotes gender equality.  Mainly, women who have been raised in the old fashioned context need to be aware of these realities in order to avoid perpetuating this culture of inequity and injustice. Special education towards these first level actors, meaning teaching parents how to educate their children accordingly,  is thus important.  Men should be role model to boys by changing and showing examples of their own behavior.  Also, political engagement and support of the Government is more than necessary. 



3. How can the civic engagement of girls help redress the inequalities that they face in society?


Change is a long process and community based organizations are usually those who can support this change effectively.  By getting involved in these civil society organizations, girls can help a lot by learning and raising their own awareness of the multiple forms of existing inequalities.  They can in turn play an important role by helping communities to learn through awareness raising activities.


 

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 01.49 pm

I am grateful to get this rare opportunity. The inequalities that we face as girls in South Africa, everywhere you go could be at school, church, home, clinic etc people talk about teenage pregnancy only to girls. It is high time education is provided to both girls and boys. Girls do not impregnant themselves, up until equal education about sexuality is provided to both- parents, teachers will forever complain about the rise of teenage pregnancy.

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 12.44 pm

Based on my experience and observation, Vietnamese girls are facing several gender inequalities besides common inequalities young people - young people don't have equal voice in decision - making process at different levels: country level, community level, family level and personal level. Sometimes they are asked to give their opinions but in the end, decisions are made based mostly on the most "experienced" and powerful people. Especially, at the personal level, a lot of young people in Viet Nam can not decide their life direction or future career if the things are against their parents and their relatives' wills or expectations.

Although recently, the social position of Vietnamese women is much better and better. They still face a lot of challenges and inequalities which are not so visible for everybody, even for themselves. They have to face: (i) domestic violence in form of sexual abuse, mental and physical violence; (ii) overload of housechores, (iii) lack of time for relax, etc.

For young girls, based on their ages, they have different gender issues:

(i) Girl babies are less expected by the parents and their relatives. peopel still prefer to have a son as their first child to ensure that they have at least one boy.

(ii) Young girls from 7 to 18 are expected to learn and be good at cooking, sewing, washing, cleaning while young boys are juste expected to be good at studying. in case families cannot afford their children's school fee, girls are usually asked to stop going to school to make money.

(iii) Girls from 15 - 23 are hoped by their parents to decide their future careers which should be favorable for their future family life. Besides that, a large number of young girls from rural areas of Viet Nam because want to have money for their families, they have to get married with foreigners, even though they oversee an unhappy marriage for their life.

(iv) young women also face a serie of inequalities like: sacrifying their own study, their job to their family; having pressure on having male baby from their husband, making balancing between family housechore and social work.

(iv) Girls in genearl are limited in accessing reproductive health information, gender training or supports releted to gender issues. So a lot of them don't know when they are sexually abused or don't know to have safe sex. Viet Nam is one of the countries has the highest abortion in the world.

The inequalities faced by girls in Vietnam's society cause from patriarchically cultural legacy, lack of educational program on gender issues children and young people, lack of concrete actions and mechanism against gender inequalities by the state, the society or girls' low awareness on gender issues and the way to handle with them, lack of

Several actions are successuful conducted against gender inequalities but most of them just focused on matured women's challenges. Only some attentions on gender inequalities in primary school students' text books and teaching methods are paid by the society.

If the girls have more chances created by the government, the NGOs and communities to join in social activities and learn more about gender equality or other soft skills like communication skills they will increase their awareness and their capacities to be able to avoid inequalities.

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 09.25 am

I am honored to take part in such vital discussion. Much has been said about gender equality and great ways of fostering it. I would like to add a couple of more thoughts concerning it.
I believe that by educating only girls we are pushing them to be active but at the same time make them fight with the traditional norms in their society which may lead to of them having higher level of stress, at times stigmatization, not comprehension and loneliness. Girls should not be the martyrs or the fighters, they should be humans first.
At the same time, what happens with the “oppressors” – males? They may not know anything about the issues of “equality”. Can you imagine yourself a situation when these girls will be ready for marriage, what difficulties they will experience of finding the right person to marry and possibly to have children with, the one who will understand their motifs, actions and way of thinking.
That is why I strongly believe that gender equality should be taught to both sexes in an inclusive environment and in culturally appropriate settings from early age. In environment when boys and girls will both participate in school and out of school activities that would allow open communication. Sport activities are a great example for that.
And probably we have to start not with education of children but with education of teachers, the ones who will be teaching these values to children and who will be “monitoring” the process of child communication. By educating teachers that are currently teaching and soon-to-be teachers at universities and colleges we will be brining sustainability to our efforts. As you know the role of teachers in rural communities is high, often they serve as authority figures. Teachers are also more “stable” figures than any other support group or project. If the person understands the values of equality and embraced it in the teaching, then hundreds and thousands of children will be exposed to these values from early age.
Of course this should be done with supporting advocacy, increasing support for youth initiatives and their participation in the decision making process at the levels of their communities and beyond them.

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 08.57 am

Gender inequality is prevailing in the entire world.women  is the wonderfull and beautifull creature created by the God on this earth. In Hindu methology she is the creator of the life and in sikhism gurus give her very prime position by the status of  mother of khalsa more than 300 years ago.but the present situation is entirly differnt from thepast one .In these days media and film industry and company advertisement concerns made the women as a comodity and show piece . The mind of common manalways revolve arround it. women are more powerfull and more succesfull when theyprovided the oppurtunity to grow. In India when in office the male is on prime position/boss/officer,then everybody said ,"He is a very competent man and works very hard.............all that".But when anywomen reaches on that position by her own hard male s use to say,' She has lnks with higher authorities" and use abusive words for her and try to lowerdown her dignity. gender discrimination in Indian society is very high.one thing which I always feels is that the TV show which we are provided to indian Kids are full of male heros as  Chhota Bheem,Arjuna ,Mighty raju and many more .This seen is almost same for the entire asian shows whish strike on the child minds and they grow with the strong male figure and week female figure in their minds.


But this seen is diferent for european cartoon TV shows as they show the Barbie Movies ,in barbie she is the only strong figure in it no fathers or brothers help .Barbie fights on her own thiswill make the mindset of kids as a strong charactor of its own.they also show the wonder women charactor which is equally strong as that of spiderman . and superman as is the mamber of their team but in Indian chhota Bheem, chotki is just  to provide laddo to bheem when he fights.


All such things imprint on Kids mind for the future life. Need of the hour is to provide strong oppurtunity and make the females more competative and more progressive if they can rear and care a family they can do wonders in evry fields.

Anonymous from
Fri, January 18, 2013 at 08.28 am

It is clear from the submissions that there are a lot of activities and responses taking place in different parts of the world, not just by communities and organisations, but by girls themselves.  I am not going to repeat all the things that people have talked about but wanted to highlight one or two things that I believe continue to cut across most of the arguments.  In order to address gender inequality in general and the inequalities that girls face, we need to start from the beginning – addressing systems of patriarchy that legitimize or/and allow, facilitate, enable the oppression of women and girls as acceptable practices and societal behaviours. Not only do we need to have this as a discourse that should re-enter the development dialogue, but we need to continue to interrogate the impact and implications for our structures, policies and systems that development the development agenda at all levels. 


Secondly, it is critical that girls and women in all spaces of our societies, are also helped to understand this interrogation and how it impacts on them, their beliefs and their practices.  There are a number of programmes across different regions that focus on increasing self-awareness of young women through leadership transformation that bring a feminist analysis.  And although the word feminism is frowned upon as an old fashioned word from the 1960s or indeed a European concept that has no resonance elsewhere perhaps, it is important to go beyond the word and understand the conceptual analysis of power and structures that feminism brings to this conversation.  This has helped and will continue to help many young people to understand better the systemic and structural causes of inequality, poverty and injustice - why structures and systems are not always favourable to them as individuals and as a group.  It will then help them to find long lasting solutions that challenge these inequalities that are mainly founded on long held values and beliefs that women are inferior.


The current MDGs have failed to address the rights of women and young women in particular in that they were not set up to address the root cause of inequality.  The next global development framework should and must address these root causes if it is going to come up with sustainable solutions that bring young women and girls into collaborative engagement and participation that will eventually lead to social economic and political transformation. 


 

Anonymous from
Thu, January 17, 2013 at 11.31 pm

Au Sénégal les filles sont victimes de violences sexuelles en milieu scolaire et ça se fait par les maîtres des fois même par les membres de la famille et ce genre de situation c'est souvent au niveau des campagnes, cause pour laquelle chez certaines filles leurs niveaux de scolarisation même s’arrête dès le primaire. On peut citer aussi le travail précoce des jeunes filles qui sont maltraitées et considérées comme des esclaves, pas bien payées a qui on donne le nom de « mindane » comme l'a dit Chembessi le cas au Benin et aussi au Maroc. Souvent les filles sont des analphabètes et leur taux de scolarisation reste trop faible. Les mariages précoces et/ou forcés sont aussi bien connue. Dans le cas des violences sexuelles, il y a récemment eu l’exemple d'un oncle qui a violé sa nièce. Malgré un tel délit, au lieu de le dénoncer, la famille a préféré avoir le « soutoura » c'est a dire de ne pas dévoiler les secrets. Et c'est seulement pour ne pas donner une mauvaise réputation a la famille.

 

Je pense en tant que jeune fille que c'est a nous d'organiser une lutte, de nous mobiliser et de dévoiler ces secrets et d'avoir le courage de dénoncer - car chaque mauvais acte doit être payé. Il est aussi aux parents et a la société toute entière d'assumer leur part de responsabilité et de se mettre a côté de leur filles parce que le silence ne résout rien et au contraire empire la situation.

Anonymous from
Thu, January 17, 2013 at 09.38 pm

The Center for Reproductive Rights (the Center) is pleased to have the opportunity to comment on the need for the post-MDG Development Agenda to address inequalities that youth, particularly adolescents, face in accessing sexual and reproductive health information and services.

Adolescents have reproductive rights, just as adults do, but their low social status, lack of autonomy, and physical vulnerability make it more difficult for them to exercise those rights. These inequalities have meant that globally, approximately 14 million adolescents age 15 to 19 give birth every year. According to UN Population Fund (UNFPA), adolescent birth rates are near 50 percent in several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and between 30 and 40 percent in many countries in Latin America. These young women are faced with the decision of whether to continue their pregnancies, a decision which may impact their ability to continue their education or terminate a pregnancy. As a result, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) approximately 4.4 million adolescents undergo abortion every year, including in countries where abortion is illegal, and nearly half of the deaths resulting from unsafe abortion in 2003 occurred among adolescents and adults below the age of 25. Additionally, according to Save the Children, complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of death for 15 to 19-year-old girls in the developing world.

Below we highlight two of the most prevalent factors contributing to inequalities faced by youth in accessing their reproductive rights: lack of sexuality education and lack of access to confidential reproductive health services.

Lack of Sexuality Education

Comprehensive and accurate sexuality education is a key component of ensuring that the reproductive rights of adolescents are fulfilled, by providing needed information to youth and adolescents so that they can make decisions about their reproductive health. In its General Comment No. 4 on adolescent health and development, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC Committee) states that countries must ensure that “all adolescent girls and boys, both in and out of school, are provided with, and not denied, accurate and appropriate information on how to protect their health and development and practice healthy behaviors.” Additionally, the CRC Committee has indicated that “States parties should provide adolescents with access to sexual and reproductive information, including on family planning and contraceptives, the dangers of early pregnancy, the prevention of HIV/AIDS and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).”

An important goal for development programs is to ensure that sexuality education is comprehensive and evidence-based. Inadequate sexuality education, including abstinence-only programs, creates barriers to youth accessing their reproductive rights because these programs provide adolescents with neither accurate nor sufficient information to make decisions about preventing STIs and to determine the timing and spacing of their children.  Additionally, young women and girls who are not in school often do not receive sexuality education at all. In many countries most young people (especially girls) have left school by the age of 15, and many are married between the ages of 15 and 19.

To address these problems, sexuality education should be comprehensive and at minimum should include information about anatomy and physiology, puberty, pregnancy, and STIs, including HIV/AIDS. Sexuality education should also begin at the earliest stages in school so it has the best chance of reaching the most youth, and the government should initiate programs to reach the large number of young people outside the school system.

Lack of Access to Confidential Reproductive Health Services

Adolescents need access to youth-friendly reproductive health care information and services, such as modern contraception, pregnancy services, and abortion. Access to such services is important to (1) prevent unwanted pregnancy; (2) prevent unsafe abortions; (3) lower maternal mortality (4) reduce the spread of STIs, including HIV/AIDS; and (5) enable adolescents to exercise their autonomy. Adolescents’ rights to life, health, privacy and non-discrimination entitle them to have access to confidential and adolescent-friendly services.

Ensuring access to comprehensive, confidential services fosters an adolescent’s self-determination regarding her reproductive life and health. Failure to ensure confidentiality constitutes a barrier to comprehensive reproductive health care. The case of P. and S. v. Poland at the European Court of Human Rights, brought by the Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning and the Center, illustrates the importance of confidentiality in providing reproductive health services to adolescents. This case involved a 14-year-old girl who became pregnant after she had been raped, where she then faced numerous barriers to accessing a lawful abortion. One of these barriers was a breach of her medical confidentiality, which resulted in harassment. The Court noted that such breaches of confidentiality not only violate the right to privacy but also the right to health because they undermine the individual’s confidence in the medical profession, making them less likely to seek help when they need it.

Adolescents often face inequalities in accessing reproductive health services because of laws and practices that undermine the confidentiality of such services. For example, adolescents frequently encounter significant barriers to accessing contraceptive information and services, leading to high rates of unintended pregnancy and increased risk of contracting HIV and STIs. Despite the Convention on the Rights of the Child’s recognition of the “evolving capacities” of adolescents to make decisions in matters affecting their lives, many states require parental consent in order for adolescents to access reproductive health information and services, which can deter adolescents from seeking necessary care because they believe their parents could learn that they are—or are considering becoming—sexually active.

International human rights bodies have acknowledged that requiring parental involvement in adolescents’ reproductive health care decisions impedes access to necessary services. The CRC Committee and the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) have recognized adolescents’ right to contraceptive information and services and have strongly advocated that adolescent reproductive health services be available without parental consent. Additionally, the CRC Committee stated in its General Comment No. 4 that adolescents should have “the possibility of medical treatment without parental consent” in order to ensure their rights to health and development. And the European Court of Human Rights in its P. and S. v. Poland decision emphasized the importance of adolescent autonomy in reproductive decisions, stating that “legal guardianship cannot be considered to automatically confer on the parents of a minor the right to take decisions concerning the minor’s reproductive choices, because proper regard must be had to the minor’s personal authority in this sphere,” while considering the interests of parents in reproductive choices.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Adolescents face inequalities in exercising their reproductive rights due to lack of availability and accessibility and legal barriers to receiving quality sexuality education and confidential reproductive health services. These inequalities can lead to unwanted pregnancies, increased rates of STIs, and violations of human rights for adolescents around the world. Governments’ duty to fulfill human rights requires them to invest in providing reproductive health care services and to take affirmative measures to enable adolescents to exercise their reproductive autonomy, steps that would also improve development outcomes by increasing opportunities for all adolescents. Because of the need to ensure equal treatment for young people as a means of promoting development, access to reproductive health information and services should be an essential part of the post-MDG development agenda.

For more information on this issue and citations to laws and statistics cited in this post, please visit: http://reproductiverights.org/sites/crr.civicactions.net/files/documents/adolescents%20bp_FINAL.pdf

http://reproductiverights.org/sites/crr.civicactions.net/files/documents/BP_unfpa_12.10.pdf

Sarah Gold from
Sat, January 19, 2013 at 04.28 am

Young People and Inequalities: Recommendations for the post-2015 Development Agenda

A Submission by the International Women’s Health Coalition 

Young people all over the world face a range of unique challenges to exercising their rights.  Barriers to age-appropriate health services, meaningful education, and viable livelihoods opportunities are among the most pressing impediments to youth empowerment.  The International Women’s Health Coalition is centrally concerned with the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people.  We believe that working with both young men and women is critical to ensuring that the rights of all young people, particularly girls, are universally protected and realized. The following contribution focuses specifically on the challenges facing girls, who continue to experience systematic social, economic and political marginalization in every part of the world. 

Given the global persistence of gender inequality, many of the issues disproportionately affecting young people also tend to disproportionately affect girls. In 1997, UNAIDS reported that 60% of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa were among young people (aged 15-24), with a 2:1 ratio of infected girls to infected boys.  This ratio continues to grow increasingly lopsided, with girls representing 74% of new infections among young people in 2009.  Additionally, girls face extraordinarily high rates of violence.  The experience of violence, the perceived threat of violence, or the stigma associated with being a victim of violence hinder access to entitlements, opportunities for social participation, and employment.

In developing countries, 40% of girls have their first child before the age of twenty, many before the age of 18. Not only does this mean that more girls are dropping out of school, but girls are also more likely than adults to die, experience complications, or suffer chronic injuries related to childbirth. Because they have less access to contraceptives and are less sexually experienced, adolescents are more likely than adults to seek out unsafe (often late-term) abortions.  Each year, it is estimated that 2 million to 4.4 million adolescents in developing countries have abortions, 70,000 unsafe abortions are carried out, and 13% of all maternal deaths occur as a result of unsafe abortion. Early pregnancy is often associated with child marriage, a practice which also puts girls at increased risk of HIV infection.  Female genital mutilation, infanticide, nutritional bias—these and other harmful traditional practices disproportionately affect girls, infringing on their fundamental rights and opportunities for development.

The short answer to why these inequalities exist is that girls, especially the most vulnerable girls, continue to remain invisible. Despite the aforementioned figures, policymakers have consistently masked the specific needs of girls within “male-focused and male-dominated community-based activities and generic ‘youth’ prevention initiatives, all of which widely miss the mark” (Bruce, Temin, & Hallman, 2012).  This generic youth programming disproportionately benefits boys over girls overall, but it also favors unmarried to married girls, well-connected to socially marginalized girls, urban to rural girls, girls belonging to an ethnic majority to migrant or indigenous girls, and so on. 

Girls also remain invisible because of how we measure progress.  Primary education enrollment figures, for example, are based on one day of the school year; even if there were genuine parity on this particular day, these figures fail to account for the reality that girls often miss multiple days of school each week because their domestic and reproductive responsibilities take priority.  Moreover, data on young people is rarely disaggregated, resulting in measures of participation which fail to report gender, age, marital status, and other critical factors.

The disproportionate burden that girls share for maternal morbidity and mortality, the time burdens that girls shoulder, the staggering inequalities in girls’ educational outcomes—these are all reversible realities. To tackle these disparities, we need to begin by making girls visible.  We must call for the post-2015 agenda to pay particular attention to girls and the challenges that they face.  The risks facing girls are well documented and the next step is to match the research with the necessary resources. 

We need to make girls visible. 

Making girls visible begins with how we count them.  By properly counting girls and disaggregating data by age and gender, we can target youth programming at specific subsets of youth—like adolescent girls.  We can also measure whether programs are actually reaching the girls who are most at risk. 

We need to invest in girls

We must invest in programming aimed specifically at girls, with an emphasis on the most at-risk populations of girls—those who engage in transactional sex, those who are forced into early marriage, those who fluently speak their native language but cannot communicate in their national language, and so on.  These programs must include the following features.

  •  Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) must be thorough, scientifically sound, and culturally appropriate.  It should take place in a safe and healthy learning environment and it should explicitly address gender norms and gender equality.  When young people are educated about human rights, gender equality, and the role of power in relationships, they are not only equipped with the tools to negotiate their own health relationships, but they are also able to educate and influence power-brokers in their communities. 
  • Comprehensive services must be universally available and accessible.  This means, access to high quality sexual and reproductive health care, all forms of safe and effective contraception, safe abortion and post abortion care, maternity care, and prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
  • Education is foundational to girls’ empowerment. We must ensure that all girls, no matter how poor, isolated or disadvantaged, are able to attend school regularly and without the interruption of early pregnancy, forced marriage, etc.  Education—for both girls and boys—must go beyond academics and equip young people with life skills so that they are prepared to think critically and challenge discriminatory and repressive policies and practices.
  • Empowering spaces ensure girls have the opportunity to feel secure, be themselves, and plan for their safety and development.  Even if only for a few hours a week, accessing safe spaces allows girls to frame their own agendas, receive training on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and develop their social and economic capital. These participatory social spaces also foster opportunities for community-building and networking, mitigating the isolation that many girls experience.

We need to support young leaders.

We must continue to support both young women and young men to be advocates for change. Ensuring that reproductive rights are protected and promoted rests in the hands of young women and men, particularly young people throughout the global South.  Young people should be involved in all types of decision making on sexual and reproductive health and rights.  Seasoned advocates must be willing to pass the torch, share best practices, and work alongside—sometimes even be led by—a new generation of SRHR leaders. 

As advocates, we can listen to one another and work in tandem to repeal legislation that legitimizes discrimination against girls and press for new protections that ensure equality of access to health services, jobs and earnings, education, property and all the rest.  Addressing the profoundly complex root causes of gender inequality (and accordingly the inequalities experienced by girls) is not a simple challenge.  As we begin to develop a tangible action plan for the post-2015 development framework, we must remain mindful that shifting the social and cultural norms that permit and promote discrimination against girls is not a simple box-ticking task. We cannot continue to only see gender equality as a singular aim, but rather as both an explicit goal and an issue that needs to be mainstreamed throughout the post-2015 development agenda.

Anonymous from
Thu, January 17, 2013 at 04.48 pm

Throughout the world, adolescents are marginalised and vulnerable due to their young age and being in a period of transition. However, in the context of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), some adolescents are more - often much more - marginalised and vulnerable than others. This is due to social, economic and political factors that deny them the support, information and services they need.


Examples include the: over 100 million adolescents that are out-of-school[1]; over 15 million adolescent women that become mothers every year[2];  nearly 93 million adolescents that are unemployed[3]; and 6,000 young people that become infected with HIV every single day[4].


Equitable access to sexual and reproductive health and rights is essential in developing the next framework.  It underpins equitable access to paid employment; to quality of life, and plays a fundamental role in addressing gender inequality and discrimination.


In Egypt for example, women who use contraception are more likely to be employed that those who don’t.


However, adolescent girls, and others marginalised by status or circumstances, tend to have significantly less control over household financial resources, and, are less likely to have the final say in their own health care.


For example, we know that women’s participation in decisions about their health tends to rise as they get older. But we also know that by the time they reach adulthood, some of the most vital decisions about their health and future (such as when, if and how many children they have) are made: with or without them. That’s why it’s essential we focus on reaching adolescents early.


But its about more than finances- it’s about political will and social inclusion; creating an enabling environment by tackling gender based inequality, discrimination and violence from the individual level and beyond.


This touches on the much wider issues of empowerment and agency, and whether an adolescent girl can decide to use family planning. This comes down to her role in decision-making, and to the sort of value that she is seen to have within the family.


Employment and her ‘breadwinning value’ are important. Girls in paid employment are more likely to have direct control over finances, and on how they spend their time: so that they can both pay for, and can get to a clinic. And providing the jobs are there, a girl’s value in the family can shift from reproductive to productive, which can make it more likely that she receives support to delay and space pregnancies.


But there’s a real danger that we simply move from one kind of instrumentalism to another. If we are serious about tackling inequalities – and if this next framework is going to be transformative, we need to start with women and girls’ intrinsic value.


So that girls aren’t growing up having decisions made about them, on the basis of their reproductive or productive value: but instead, are supported to make decisions for themselves, based on the knowledge that their bodies belong to them:  and that they have the same rights to health as everyone else.


At the moment, the world’s most marginalised and vulnerable adolescents are ‘falling through the net’. Current systems, policies and resource allocations are failing them. Supporting these young people is not an expensive ‘extra’. It is fundamental to efforts to creating the world we want.


A useful typology developed for Interact Worldwide and taken from its report on marginalised adolescents:





Type of marginalisation/vulnerability


and examples of affected adolescents


How marginalisation/vulnerability


affects adolescents’ access to


and demand for SRHR


Gender and associated norms. For example, adolescents who are: child brides; unmarried sexually active females; survivors of gender-based violence; females in conservative or patriarchal religious communities; or young men under pressure to conform to gender norms.


 


Affected adolescents may experience one or all of:


 


  • Different types or levels of SRHR needs compared to other adolescents. For example: adolescents with low literacy may need specific SRHR materials; adolescent orphans may need extra counselling on relationships; adolescent men who have sex with men may have specific needs for condoms and lubricants; or adolescents in prison may need extra support about sexual violence.

 


  • Additional or stronger barriers to accessing SRHR services compared to other adolescents. For example: the SRHR needs of unmarried female adolescents may be ignored in government services for married adults; SRHR services may not be available at times that suit adolescents living on the street; adolescents living with HIV may face discrimination by health workers; or adolescents in poverty or informal labour may not be able to afford the costs of SRHR services.

 


  • Weaker opportunities or capacity to demand SRHR services compared to other adolescents. For example: child brides may not be permitted to take decisions about their SRHR; adolescent migrants may lack regular contact with SRHR services; adolescents in rural areas may lack access to information tech-nology; stigmatised adolescents (such as sex workers) may be excluded from decision-making on  SRHR programmes; or criminalised gay adolescents may not be able to voice their needs.

 


Socio-cultural status. For example, adolescents who are: from ethnic minority, indigenous or ‘closed’ religious/cultural communities; unmarried mothers; out-of-school; orphans; in/released from prison or remand homes; or people that use drugs.


 


Socio- economic status. For example, adolescents who: live in poverty; have low literacy/have dropped out of school; have been trafficked; are migrants; are child labourers; are heads of households; are engaged in transactional sex; live or work on the streets; or are in informal labour.


 


Geographic location. For example, adolescents who are: in rural areas; in urban slums; in nomadic communities; or displaced.


 


Health status. For example, adolescents who: are pregnant; have physical or mental health disabilities; are living with HIV; or are survivors of sexual abuse or violence.


 


Sexual orientation. For example, adolescents who: identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender; or are unsure of their sexual orientation.


 


Political context. For example, adolescents who live in conflict situations or refugee communities.


 


Legal context. For example, adolescents whose status/ behaviour is criminalised (e.g. men who have sex with men, people that use drugs, sex workers).


 

Key recommendations include:


  • ‘Know your adolescent SRHR’ : use research to highlight who’s missing out, and then prioritise them

  • Address systemic barriers

  • Mainstream

  • Support advocacy

  • Increase participation

  • Make reaching hard to reach adolescents a mark of success

 


 A report on the importance of reaching hard to reach young people on SRHR can be found at http://www.interactworldwide.org/about-interact/resources/publications/who-are-we-failing-summary-report and the full report by emailing niccharthaigha@interactworldwide.org


 

Anonymous from
Thu, January 17, 2013 at 02.18 pm

Young People and Inequalities – Recommendations for a Post-2015 Development Agenda  

By REALIZING SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE (RESURJ)* 

Beginning at the age of nine or ten and continuing at least until the late teens, adolescents’ sexual thoughts, emotions, desires, attitudes, and behaviors develop rapidly. At the same time, young people experience rapid physical maturation and changing relationships with their families, friends, and peers.  During this critical moment of transition, they need accurate and complete information about their bodies, their rights, and how to optimize their sexual and reproductive health and well-being without feeling they are being inappropriate or could be judged.

There are currently 1.8 billion young people in the world between the ages of 10 and 24, many of whom do not yet have access to the comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and sexuality education that they need. They often don’t know how their bodies function, what their right to bodily autonomy is, and how their sexual feelings, thoughts, preferences, and behaviors are related to their health.  As a result, many young people throughout the world are vulnerable to unintended pregnancies, HIV and other STIs, coerced sex, early and forced marriages, and other violations of their human rights.    Moreover, young people who are of diverse sexualities, sexual orientations and gender identities are more at risk of suffering from acts of violence, including corrective rape, for example.

There are two primary reasons why governments should prioritize adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive rights and health in the Post-2015 development agenda. First, it is a human rights imperative to recognize that adolescents have human rights and are entitled to the tools and support necessary to lead healthier lives into adulthood. Second, “demographic momentum”, the phenomenon that the population will continue to increase despite reduced fertility rates, is likely to contribute to over 50% of future population growth in low and middle income countries in upcoming decades. Sustained investment in empowering adolescents and young people and providing them with quality sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education will likely stabilize population growth by providing them with the information and means to make informed and autonomous decisions about their sexual and reproductive lives.

The statistics on adolescent girls’ sexual and reproductive ill health are staggering:

  • One in three girls in resource-poor countries is married by the age of 18 and one in seven is married before her 15th birthday, often without consent.
  • Young women aged 15-24 in sub-Saharan Africa are up to eight times more likely than young men to be HIV positive.
  • Although girls between the ages of 10 and 19 account for only 10% of all births worldwide, they account for 23% of the overall burden of disease due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
  • 215 million women, including those under 18, who are already married or living in unions (and many more millions who are single) are having sex and do not want to be pregnant, but do not have access to contraceptives of their choice.
  • More than 40% (8.7 million) of the 21.2 million unsafe abortions in developing countries in 2008 occurred among young women aged 15–24 years.
  • Pregnancy and child-birth complications are the leading cause of death for adolescent girls in low and middle-income countries—with 50,000 dying every year.  Sixteen million adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 years give birth annually and an estimated 3 million undergo unsafe abortions.
  • 71 million young adolescents are still not in school, and less than a quarter of young people complete secondary school
  • About 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of feminine genital mutilation. FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age.
  • In Africa, an estimated 92 million girls 10 years old and above have undergone FGM.
  • Young people, and particularly young women, are three times as likely as adults to be unemployed and when employed, they are often underpaid.

As adolescents and young people navigate through this transition, they are experimenting with their sexual feelings and preferences and face major challenges when seeking health care if they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or are questioning.

  • Young LGBTQI people have more difficulties in achieving proper healthcare, particularly in societies where they experience greater stigma and discrimination generally. Not being financially or socially independent, young people can be ignored or treated in inappropriate ways by healthcare professionals who are not properly educated in specific aspects of treating and working with LGBTQI youth.
  • Trans young people are not usually given all of the medical and social options available to them as practitioners only understand the binary gender system. Therefore, their option is often limited to transitioning fully into the opposite sex.
  • Discrimination or the perception of discrimination in healthcare settings leads to alienation of LGBTQI young people and an inability to ask for treatment and support which in turn can have devastating consequences, leaving LGBTQI youth extremely vulnerable.
  • They are financially dependent, less educated and susceptible to victimization and discrimination and its consequences such as social exclusion by peers, running away from home, homelessness etc.
  • Assumptions from healthcare professionals that patients are heterosexual and in- formation that is not inclusive of different sexual orientations or gender identities can exclude LGBTQI youth and deny them access to the information and support they require to maintain health and wellbeing and access appropriate treatment.

These facts show that adolescents, and particularly girls as well as those of diverse sexualities, need accurate information and knowledge about their bodies and their rights, negotiation skills to navigate relationships, and confidential and non-judgmental health care in order to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive lives. However, legal and social restrictions in many countries make it nearly impossible for adolescents to have this knowledge and exercise their rights. Barriers include parental and spousal consent laws, concerns around privacy and confidentiality, stigma and discrimination, and limited access to health care services due to limited mobility, school and work schedules and cost.  

 

The case for investing in funding and programming directed at adolescent girls is clear from a technical standpoint:  evidence shows that enabling adolescents and young people to receive comprehensive sexuality education and access sexual and reproductive health services can have positive health outcomes and contribute to development and poverty eradication.

As the international community develops a framework for the future, the human rights and health of adolescents and youth, particularly of girls and young women, should be a top priority. The Post-2015 development agenda should ensure sustained action and accountability for:

  • Universal access to quality, comprehensive, integrated sexual  and  reproductive health services,  counseling,  and  information,  with respect  for human  rights,  and  with  an  emphasis  on  equality, equity and  respect  for  diversity.
  • Comprehensive sexuality education and other programs that empower young people to know their bodies and to exercise their human rights.
  • Respect, promotion and protection for sexual and reproductive rights.  
  • Young women’s leadership at all levels and in all types of decision‐making processes that affect their lives.

 

* Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justice (RESURJ) is a global alliance of younger feminist activists who work across generations to secure young people’s and women’s sexual and reproductive rights and health.  RESURJ works with local, regional and global networks to advocate for funding, policies and programs that ensure equitable access to sexual and reproductive health services, protection of sexual rights and reproductive rights, the achievement of gender equality and non-discrimination, and the meaningful participation of young people’s and women’s movements across Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.

Vera Chrobok from
Thu, January 17, 2013 at 10.56 am

Coming from a programme background in child protection, I would like to highlight the role of community-based child protection groups in the protection of children/girls and the response to child rights violations (including inequalities faced by girls). Community-based child protection groups consist of community members, mostly volunteers, who aim to improve the protection and well-being of children in their community, village, IDP camp, etc. In many cases these groups involve young people and girls, and/or are closely linked to community volunteer youth groups. Community-based child protection groups address a range of issues, usually those that seek to address the major child protection concerns in their communities. Examples that are specifically related to girls include gender-based violence, early marriage, female genital mutilation, etc.


 For many international organizations, engaging with community-based child protection groups has become the favored approach especially in countries where the government is not able or willing to fulfill children’s rights and their responsibility to protect children, but where this responsibility instead falls almost entirely on the communities.


 As is often the case, robust evidence about the effectiveness and sustainability of community-based child protection groups is missing, so the impact of the work of community volunteers on child protection and child rights is largely anecdotal. However, this largely anecdotal evidence suggests that the work of community volunteers can indeed have an impact on the well-being of children (while recognizing that community-based child protection groups are also faced with a number of challenges and also keeping in mind that community volunteers have to be organized and supported with care and in a contextually appropriate manner). Experience has shown that the work of community-based child protection groups has often resulted in enhanced awareness on child rights and protection concerns, as well as better prevention and response to child rights/child protection violations at community level.  Children and girls themselves play an important role, through informing and mobilizing children, providing peer support, and engaging with community members in dialogues etc. about child protection/child rights issues.  


 Examples:


-        Community volunteers, including girls, in IDP camps in Northern Uganda providing peer support and implementing awareness-raising campaigns (incl. community dialogues and theatre),  on reproductive health, gender-based violence, early marriage, etc., which, among others, has led to enhanced awareness of community members, increased reporting of, response, and follow-up to cases of gender-based violence,  and less stigmatization of survivors of gender-based violence. Taking on a very active role in their own communities also enhanced their own self-confidence and sense of empowerment, becoming a role model for their peers.  


-        A group of girls who were formerly associated with the LRA in Northern Uganda, and who, upon return to their communities, set up peer support groups for other girls that had escaped the LRA. In a country where a formal demobilization and reintegration program for children formerly associated with  the LRA does not exist, and where especially female abductees/returnees are largely invisible,  this group of volunteer girls supported the informal reintegration and rehabilitation of other girl ‘soldiers’. They provide counseling, support them in school enrolment, facilitate family and community acceptance of returnees, etc. The work of these girl volunteers has received a lot of recognition, as a result they have received financial support from UNICEF and others, which allowed them to establish an NGO called ‘Empowering Hands’, which is still active today. This is an example of how volunteering can lead not only to greater empowerment but turn into an actual profession and improved livelihood. 

Daniele Grivel from
Thu, January 17, 2013 at 09.24 am

"Inequalities faced by girls and women need the involvement of all, especially of the men. In terms of civic engagement, there are a number of inspiring examples and good practices across the world that demonstrate the importance of sensitizing and empowering both girls and boys to fight against inequalities.
I would like to share in the attached document a few examples from Jordan, Sudan, Pakistan, Aceh Indonesia and Haiti that highlight the importance of community engagement and volunteering to address inequalities from within societies. 
Kazumi Ikeda-Larhed"


 

De Rocher CHEMBESSI from
Thu, January 17, 2013 at 07.26 am

Les jeunes filles face aux inégalités sociales ?

L’injustice sociale est une question qui touche les jeunes de toutes les régions du monde. Néanmoins, on constate qu’elle se manifeste de différentes formes suivant l’âge et le sexe. Ainsi, on remarque que plus de jeunes filles font face à des discriminations. Nombreuses sont les jeunes filles victimes des violences physiques, sexuelles et même psychologiques dans le monde. Cette situation est la conséquence directe du traditionalisme qui sévit dans certaines contrées du monde où la femme n’a aucun pouvoir de décision ni de choix pour son avenir. Une réalité assez triste qui s’exprime par les mariages précoces ou forcés, la déscolarisation des jeunes filles, la soumission aux travaux domestiques ou autres activités de second rang. Dans certains milieux, on remarque même que les jeunes filles sont exclues du tissu social et condamnées à des préjugés.

La lutte contre ce phénomène assez inquiétant passe par une prise de conscience collective. En effet, il faudra convaincre toute la communauté mondiale au respect de la dignité humaine. Il faudra que les femmes qui ont réussi dans leur vie socioprofessionnelle puissent s’investir en de véritables ambassadrices du changement de mentalités auprès des populations surtout celles des milieux ruraux. Cette action pourrait passer par la mise en œuvre des fondations ou structures caritatives qui viendront en soutien aux jeunes filles dans leur scolarisation, à leur émancipation. Au Bénin par exemple, pour réduire le phénomène de placement des jeunes filles (appelé Vidomègon), l’Etat a été obligé d’associer aux mesures répressives des actions de sensibilisation et de soutien au développement socioéconomique des régions touchées par le phénomène. Le même dispositif a été mis en place dans les localités où les jeunes souffrent assez des violences en recrutement des assistants sociaux et juridiques dans les centres de promotion sociale. Aujourd’hui, le Bénin pourrait être valablement présenté comme un exemple de la lutte contre les inégalités basées sur le genre en Afrique. Toutefois, l’appui des programmes de coopération internationale dans cette lutte est fort déterminant. C’est pourquoi les institutions de coopération et de développement international doivent inscrire dans leurs plans d’actions des lignes consacrées à la lutte contre les inégalités basées sur le genre qui constituent un autre handicap majeur au développement.

Olga DEVYATKIN from
Wed, January 16, 2013 at 09.06 pm

Good day everyone, 


This is a captivating discussion with many stories that remind us of social patterns and injustices towards girls that have deep roots in history. As it is said, by studying history we understand the present. Things that happen very quickly are really taking place over a long period of time. We live in very exciting times nowadays. Girls do have the rights that their mothers did not have a generation ago, they have unusual jobs such as a police woman, a taxi driver, a businesswoman, a professor, and even perform in heavy weight sport in Olympic games. What do you think what actions will challenge gender inequalities?

Anonymous from
Wed, January 16, 2013 at 12.55 pm

I think a lot of communities still perpetuate harmful gender expectations on men that disadvantage women greatly. Men are mocked for having women who make more money or are more independent and this fuels a need to exert control on men that oppresses women and undermines their role as active decision-makers in relationships and homes. I think we need to challenge these stereotypes that promote violence, and physical strength and promote an equal society where men's sense of maleness is not defined by power! Education and equal opportunities endorsed and supported by an entire communi as important for young women is key! 

Veronique APOREIGAH from
Wed, January 16, 2013 at 10.32 am

Dear all,


I have read with great interest your various contributions so far to this discussion. Many participants have highlighted the wide range of inequalities that girls face. Some have also given examples of actions that could challenge these inequalities: use of social media, legislation, government support, etc.  It would be great if you could share inspiring examples and good practices of citizens/community engagement aiming at redressing inequalities faced by girls?


 


 


 

Anonymous from
Wed, January 16, 2013 at 01.33 am

Lo que más me molesta: cuando, por ser mujer te consideran menos inteligente que un hombre.

Lo peor: que muchas mujeres promueven esta idiosincracia; madres de familia, hermanas, novias, amigas.

Anonymous from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 05.56 pm

Well i think that girls are facing not only inequalitites in reall life but there are many countries where female doctors are under-estimated for their surgical skills just for being a female

Anonymous from
Wed, January 16, 2013 at 06.58 pm

I would like to view inequality between men and women as a mental construct within systems and subsystems. At the same time that we should change the mental construction of boys and girls, men and women, politicians and constituents; we should also have changes in the legal system, the politicall, cultural, social and economic systems. We should start from the top-down, and at the same time from bottom-up, balancing the urban with the rural, the professional with the illiterate. The recent spate of Rape in India is Patriarchy, Misogyny, Male Entitlement  trying to maintain the status quo against human rights, women's rights, children's rights. The pendulum swings from the extreme progressive to the extreme conservative. Only much later will it moderate to a balance. In the meantime, each of us must be the change agent.

Anonymous from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 05.35 pm

I am a Girl , a proud one!
To start with i want to introduce my background so you could understand exactly what am i facing.
I live in a small country in north africa, an arabic muslim country, the first of Arab Spring countries, I live in Tunisia also called Green Tunisia.
As we recently witnessed the big step towards change; the tunisian revolution, we are now taking diffrent other steps the light. the nation's vision to women is changing. it is actually torn up between narrow minded relegious people and between secular supporters.
everything a woman does is judged by these two parties. we feel lost.
from one side we are seen as sinners and from the other side we are expected to do more. in other words some classify as over achievers and others classify as as under achievers.
i just want to say enough judgment and please just give us credit for what we do.

Anonymous from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 02.34 pm

I am from Nepal, In South Asian society young girl are badly suffering from gender inequality. we can see the literacy  rate is very lower then young boys. In our society parents are planning marriage their baby girls without giving them proper education.mote then 80% people are living in village area so their thinking is traditional . To change the thinking of society we have to develop network of young people and give them education, psychological counselling and creative sports engagement give them re thinking young girls value.  

Anonymous from
Wed, January 16, 2013 at 07.38 am

Dear Maheshwor. Nepal has acheived gender parity in education. The enrollment of children both for boys and girls is around 95% but in secondary level it falls to 71%. This means, both boys and girls dropout schools in secondary level. It is true that many girls in rural cannot continue study and dropout before passing SLC (grade 10). Gender inequality is major challenge in Nepal and other south asian countries that girls are facing in family, community and national level.


Another mojor challenge for girls that represents gender inequality is girls participation in Sexual and reproductive health campaigns. In very rural area family and community ingrained in negative social norms do not allow girls to participate in SRH campaign because of being girl.


"Promote gender equality and stop violence against women and girls"


 

Christoph BECK from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 01.26 pm

Hi everybody,

We are getting impressive examples from many different places from around the globe which, once more, demonstrate that girls face inequalities (to very different degrees) everywhere. Are there some real, concrete experiences that could be shared where civic engagement of girls helped to redress the inequalities that they face? May be there are some lessons to be learned from such examples? .

Anonymous from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 11.22 am

1. What are the inequalities faced by girls in their societies and why do these gender inequalities exist?
In zambia, boys are regarded to be more superior than girls. Due to such perceptions, girls are usually treated unfairly in their households, schools, communities, and at national level. Therefore, a boy is seen to be more valuable, than a girl child. In a household, a family would rather take their boy child to school, while the girl child remains helping with the household chores.


Up to 70% of women experience physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime from the battlefield to home, streets, at schools or work places and as well as the community. Yet perpetuators go unpunished. Traditional norms, religion and customary attitudes are at the center of such inequalities. Last year, Zambia recorded 9,612 Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases. Whats worse, is that the majority of GBV crimes are not reported.


 


2. What actions are successfully challenging these gender inequalities?


In Zambia, not so much has been done to end such inequalities. However, due to the rise in GBV cases, the government is trying to put up measures to end such alarming cases.


 


3. How can the civic engagement of girls help redress the inequalities that they face in society?


Firstly, through civic engagement, girls can be educated. This is important because girls are brought up believing that such inequalities are normal. Therefore, there is a need to educate girls on equality and its benefits.


Furthermore, civic engagement can mobilse people into advocating for equal opportunities for all. Making sure that the government formulates policies that will ensure fairness at all levels, thereby eradicating all forms of inequalities faced by girls


 

Anonymous from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 10.22 am

my name is golpar and i'm from iran,as you know living in our country for women became too hard,and the reason is clear,DISCRIMINATION against us.this phenomenon has extensive dimensions,civil,cultural,ecconemic&political.recently i red an article that was mentioned in it the age of prostitution becamelower&teenagers from14 choose it so they can meet their needs and this is because of inequality &unfotunetly these people are not illiterate or strangers whom emigerated to a big city,i bellive that the main reason of this problams is that irainian women suffer from lack of protective laws.our domestic law can not answer their needs.conservative government is the biggest obstacle against any change.these rules can not meet the need of today society.some of most problematic realms of law include:rules relevant to divorce,mehrieh(which is a mony paid to women by her husbend in islamic country that must be paid whenever his wife want it but it's payment becomes a big problem for women when they want to divorce and becomes totally useless),permission for work from their husbend or father,any women wich are over 18 years old need the permission of their father or husbend to leave their country,in wedding they need permission of father or grand father&....a woman can not be a prisident&they can not have high political position&there were few women who had important political post.besides,patriarchal culture puts more pressure on them&sees them as a seccond handed good.women don't have enough ecconomic participation and this refers to macroecconemic policy of government.so they deprive society of half of it's human resorces for work.but what is the solution? i think this is government duty to change it's hard,closed&conservative attitudes against women,we need a revolution in our domestic laws and also we need a comprehensive policymaking about these problems,i bet a society which half of it's population is week can not be healthy&strong.

Sasha RAMIREZ-HUGHES from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 10.08 am

Hi everyone - it's great to see what a frank and open discussion there has been so far on this topic. Reading the messages so far, I agree with the arguments that institutionally mandated equity and education are important steps towards equality for girls. 

I do wonder, though, how can girls challenge inequalities even where government or the education system may not be supportive?  Whenever I see these discussions I am always reminded of the Velvet Revolution, where faced with an oppressive and intrusive state and no ability to protest openly, dissidents used art and theatre as a means of expressing their dissatisfaction and communicating their ideas. 

Does anybody know of anything similar that's been done for gender inequalities?

Anonymous from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 01.43 pm

Hi Sasha, 

I think nowadays modern approach of a peaceful "velvet" revolution takes primarily place on the virtual stage. More and more young women and girls challanged with gender inequalities are using social media to express what society allows them not to. Twitter, facebook and co. have become a platform of peaceful demonstration and constructive criticism, of education and development. It is an environment, which allows every woman and girl not only to have a voice but also and especially the time to speak and formulate their arguments, without being shut down right away and thereby discouraged to express their thoughts. 

Although censorship and threats are still a day to day compagnon, brave women like Kholoud Al-Fahad continue their peaceful revolution. 

Inspiring.  

Anonymous from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 05.06 am

1. ¿Cuáles son las desigualdades que enfrentan las niñas en sus sociedades y por qué existen estas desigualdades de género?

El Salvador es un país donde las niñas y mujeres jóvenes se ven fuertemente afectadas por la violencia, con numerosos casos de feminicidios por el hecho de ser niña o joven y siendo utilizadas para la trata de personas.En las zonas rurales y sub-urbanas los casos son aún más abundantes, por la cultura "machista" y también por la debilidad de los instrumentos jurídicos para la protección, lo que se tiene es una serie de programas de atención, pero no verdaderas políticas de Estado y de Gobierno que resuelvan en el corto, mediano y largo plaza estas situaciones, para que las niñas y mujeres jóvenes tengan oportunidades de desenvolvimiento verdadero para el goce pleno de sus derechos económicos, sociales, culturales y ambientales. 

2. ¿Qué acciones están desafiando con éxito las desigualdades de género?

El género debe de verse más allá de una cuestión de programas, sino más bien como una política de Estado, todo el que hacer del Estado debe de estar en función de que las políticas sean efectivas y eficaces para la mujer. Las políticas de educación, la tecnología, el empleo entre otros, si son buenas para la mujer son buenas para la sociedad. Las mujeres son mayoría en El Salvador, y todas las instituciones deben de tener la política de género en su que hacer, no solamente tener programas de atención, esta bien tenerlos, pero si solo se va manteniendo el problema sin respuestas no tiene sentido ir ganando tiempo, sino se tiene clara la ruta a seguir para las presentes y futuras generaciones.

 

Anonymous from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 01.17 am

Marcela Useda Cerrato

Red NNAJ Nicaragua

Vision Mundial Nicaragua

¿Cuáles son las desigualdades que enfrentan las niñas en sus sociedades y por qué existen estas desigualdades de género?

 Esta desigualdad la sociedad nicaraguense la viene arastrando desde hace mucho y es una pena que en la actualidad se tome como algo normal, habitual, y se este fomentando, esta situacion la cual es preocupante esto debido a que desde el nucleo familiar como lo es el hogar se practica, ejemplo de ello es que en la mayoria de los hogares nicaragunses los propios padres estan enseñandoles asus hijos que existe una diferencia de genero por el simple hecho de nacer mujer o varon, me refiero a que a las niñas se les enseña desde muy pequeñas que debemos ir aprendiendo como se maneja una casa, como criar a los niños y atender al esposo, y en el caso de que lleguen a ser unas profecionales podran reañizarse en su area siempre y cuando esten solteras ya que al momento de casarse su vida tiene que cambiar por que no es adecuado ni visto de una buena manera que la mujer casada trabaje ya que esta es para estar en el hogar y atender a los niños y al esposo.

en el caso de los varones se les enseña que el varon es el jefe de la casa quien da las ordenes y aquien el resto de la familia debe de obedecer y escuhar y que si esto no es asi no es hombre, desde la infancia venimos observando la desigualdad que existe entre niños y niñas ya que los niños tienen el beneficio que por ser varones seles permite relacionarse con circulos de amigos, salir con ellos, si salen mal un clase simplemente sele llama la atencion y el tiene que entender lo contrario a la vivencia de las niñas, ellas tienen mas responsabilidades, como ayudar en las labores del hogar (cocinar, labar, planchar, limpiar entreo otras) ya que si no lo saben hacer no seran buenas mujeres aparte de ello tienen que estuadiar y salir bien en sus estudios por que si no lo hacen hay un castigo por no prestarle la atencion necesaria asus clases, tambien a las niñas no seles permite el espacio para relacionarse o salir como en el caso de los varones ya que cuando esto seda se piensan que son niñas desobedientes, y se les comiensa a señalar en la sociedad

 2. ¿Qué acciones están desafiando con éxito las desigualdades de género?

En la actualidad se estan implementando acciones como charlas en centros de estudios y en grupos comunitarios en los cuales se les da aconocer  a las y los niños que tanto uno como el otro son iguales y poseen igualdad de derechos, asi tambien se esta abordando pequeños encuentros con padres en donde se habla con ellos para esplicarles que la igualdad de trato que sus hijos deben de recibir tiene que ser el mismo que no sea diferente ya que esto no contribuye al cresimiento de ellos, asi como tambien la implementacion de espacios para estos en donde tanto las niñas y los niños tengan igualdad de espacio para hacerse escuhar y sepamos que es lo que ellos piensan y decean, fomentando asi la igualdad procurando las nuevas generaciones vayan dejando en el pasado la desigualdad que se a heredado y crear asi un mejor futuro.
3. ¿Cómo puede la participación cívica de las niñas ayudan a corregir las desigualdades que enfrentan en la sociedad?

La participacion de las niñez en los espacios que se les abre, tiene una gran importaancia ya que es atravez de esta que vamos fomentando un cambio en verdadero en la manera de como la sociedad mira y observa a los niños y niñas de sus paises, ya que es atraves de estos espacios en donde podemos conocer sus anelos, deceos y metas, que serviran de cambio para la contruccion de una mejor sociedad en donde la igualdad no este solamente en libros o cuadrenos si no que verdaderamente se este llevando acabo

 

 

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