Eight-year-old Johaumi smiles brightly, dressed in a pink sweatshirt and her dark hair in a long braid. Johaumi is a Venezuelan migrant living with her mother and siblings in a dusty border town in northern Colombia. The area is a hotbed of trafficking and brutality and is now home to thousands of Venezuelan migrants who have been driven out of their country by hunger, extreme poverty and violence. They sleep on the street. Photo credit: Sacha Myers / Save the Children, October 2018.

Eight-year-old Johaumi smiles brightly, dressed in a pink sweatshirt and her dark hair in a long braid. Johaumi is a Venezuelan migrant living with her mother and siblings in a dusty border town in northern Colombia. The area is a hotbed of trafficking and brutality and is now home to thousands of Venezuelan migrants who have been driven out of their country by hunger, extreme poverty and violence. They sleep on the street.

Gender Equality and Girls Empowerment

Countries are more prosperous and stable when girls are educated, empowered, healthy and free from violence and discrimination. Investing in gender equality is not just the right thing to do – it’s the smart thing to do. But girls around the world still face lifelong inequalities that begin in childhood. Girls thrive in environments where gender equity is protected and advanced through laws, culture, and institutions.

To create the conditions where every girl has the opportunity to not only live, but also to thrive and achieve her full potential, Save the Children is committed to working with governments to ensure fair finance, equal treatment and accountability.

  • Fair finance includes the removal of cost barriers that prevent girls from accessing services (like education) and minimal financial security for families to prevent girls from dropping out of school or getting married due to poverty.
  • Equal treatment includes ensuring every birth is registered so that marginalized girls are visible to policy makers. This includes creating and enforcing child marriage laws to protect girls and boys. 
  • Accountability means better data disaggregation – data that is differentiated by gender so that the impacts on girls can be identified; budget and revenue monitoring and greater government transparency.
  • Fair finance, equal treatment, and accountability for girls all help ensure that they have the resources and sense of agency to remain in the driver’s seat of their own lives.

Barriers faced by girls include child marriage, gender-based violence and harmful practices, poor access to good-quality reproductive health services, economic exclusion, the education and learning gap and a lack of voice to shape the decisions that impact their lives. The global lack of gender equality has consequences for hundreds of millions of girls and women:

  • More than 700 million women in the world were married before their 18th birthday, with one in three of these women married before age 15
  • Adolescent girls are more likely to experience sexual violence than boys.
  • Maternal mortality is the second leading cause of death for adolescent girls ages 15-19
  • An estimated 30 million girls are at risk of female genital cutting in the next decade
  • Globally, 62 million girls are out of school

Save the Children’s gender equality work, led by our Every Last Child campaign, aims to reach the most vulnerable children, those left behind by the world’s progress in child health, education and protection — including girls.

For more thought-leadership resources on Gender Equality and Girls empowerment, click here.

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