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UNFPA celebrates girl child

UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem

Oct. 13, 2020 2 min read

THE United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem has strongly urged members of the public to commit to listening to and lifting up girls’ voices.

She made these remarks on Tuesday during the commemoration of the International Day of the Girl.
Dr Kanem said that too often, girls’ voices are silenced at home, school and in the public spheres.

She showed that the silence of millions of girls around the world is enforced through female genital mutilation, child marriage and other harmful practices.
“These practices do not only violate a girl’s bodily integrity and autonomy, but they also steal her confidence and ability to make informed choices about her life,” she said.
A study by the UNFPA and partners, Dr Kanen said shows that the COVID-19 pandemic could result in 13 million more child marriages and two million more cases of female genital mutilation between now and 2030, beyond the millions already expected to take place.
She noted that adolescent pregnancy is on the rise, adding that girls under lockdown and out of school are highly vulnerable to harm.
With the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda as a guide, she said there is need to do better to ensure that girls are not left behind, as they cannot allow the current crisis to derail the future of an entire generation.

She therefore urged all to redouble their efforts towards a gender-equal world, one where every girl has the power to make informed choices about her body and her life.

 


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She added that girls should be equipped with the right knowledge and skills, surrounded by a peaceful home, safe school and a nurturing community, as well as protected by the law.
She said as adolescent girls traverse the path from childhood to womanhood, their sexual and reproductive health and rights become even more consequential.

“With a newfound ability and desire to make decisions about their bodies, their lives and their world, they are speaking up about their needs and their dreams,” she noted.
The International Day of the Girl Child is a global observance day declared by the United Nations (UN) - it is also called the Day of Girls and the International Day of the Girl.

 

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