Wednesday, October 11, 2017

International Day of the Girl Child
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition
and promote sustainable agriculture

UN Women Statement: International Day of the Girl Child


“Some people say that it is shameful for girls to go to work or go to school. These are old traditions and conventions.”

This year, on the International Day of the Girl Child, the focus is on how to ‘EmPOWER Girls: Before, during and after crises’. Throughout 2017 there has been a growing conflict, instability, and inequality, with 128.6 million people this year expected to need humanitarian assistance due to security threats, climate change, and poverty. More than three-quarters of those who have become refugees or who are displaced from their homes are women and children. Among these, women and girls are among the most vulnerable in times of crisis.

Displaced and vulnerable women and girls face higher risks of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as damage to their livelihoods; girls are 2.5 times more likely than boys to miss school during disasters, and displaced girls are often married off as children in an effort to ensure their security. A 2013 assessment estimated a rise in the percentage of Syrian girl refugees in Jordan being married before age 18 from below 17 percent before the conflict, to more than 50 percent afterward.

At UN Women, they are working to ensure that girls experiencing crises have positive options that allow them to grow and develop social and economic skills. Along with local women’s organizations, we support women and girl refugees through our Global Flagship Initiative, on Women’s Leadership, Empowerment, Access and Protection in Crisis Response (LEAP), which boosts civic engagement and leadership by advocating for women’s political and social participation at the local, national and international levels. LEAP also establishes Empowerment Hubs where women can network and access critical services and training and provides job placements, cash-for-work initiatives, and training for businesses.

Programmes like these can turn situations of displacement into opportunities for empowerment for girls and young women, remove them from potentially violent situations, and serve as a path to economic security so that they are not forced to marry older men to provide for their physical and financial well-being.

On the International Day of the Girl Child, let us commit to investing in skills training and education for girls and livelihood activities for young women around the world who are facing crises. Far from being passive recipients of assistance, these girls are leaders who will use the skills that they develop today to rebuild their communities, and create a better future for all of us.


End hunger, Achieve Food Security and Improved Nutrition
and Promote Sustainable Agriculture


Women prepare up to 90 percent of meals in households around the world, yet when times are tough, women and girls may be the first to eat less. Households headed by women may not eat enough simply because women earn at lower levels, and are less prepared to cope with a sudden crisis.

Inequities in food consumption stand in contrast to women’s significant role in agricultural production. They comprise on average 43 percent of the agricultural labor force in developing countries and over 50 percent in parts of Asia and Africa. Yet their potential contribution to food security remains constrained by unequal access to land and other productive assets.Nourishment is not just about the quantity of food, but its quality. In poor households, women can be less likely to get the nutrients they need, including to manage the physical demands of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Gender inequality intersects with inadequate health care, insufficient education and limited income to drive these deprivations.

Ending hunger means that all women can consume enough food with adequate nutrients. All women working in agriculture, if unshackled from discrimination, can contribute to greater global food security.

UN Women acts to stop hunger by supporting women’s role in food security, as the cornerstones of food production and utilization. We provide training for women farmers and access to information and technology, to help women can achieve significantly higher agricultural productivity. UN Women also raises awareness among rural women and decision-makers alike, on the need for legal changes to allow more equitable distribution of assets, such as land and credit. The entity also steers the online global knowledge hub Empower.org, where women can share practical knowledge around food production and technology.

Empowering Girls 


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