By Perseverance Javangwe
While there has been much progress made in the last two decades to ensure every girl is able to grow and develop in good health, there is much still to be done as the girl child still continues to be treated as if she is a child of a lesser God. She suffers abuse, discrimination and her voice is not listened to.
Speaking during a virtual event, Young Women’s Forum Chairperson of Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (Midlands Chapter) Tanya Makotore highlighted the vulnerabilities of girls and urged the government to honor the Beijing Declaration by unlocking the girls’ potential.
“25 years ago in Beijing, governments promised to take steps to safeguard equal rights and ensure that they achieve their full potential. World leaders promised to eliminate all forms of discrimination and Violence against Girls, as well as provide them opportunities on equal basis with boys. They vowed to promote their rights and eliminate economic exploitation, empower them to participate in social, economic, political and cultural life. This background brings us to the 2020 theme, “My Voice, Our Equal Future”.
“It’s a call to recognize girls’ inheritance of the unfinished Beijing Agenda. No Decision for Girls should be made without them! These commemorations work on keeping the promises made in Beijing in 1995. Amongst the issues focused on include, education, quality, child marriages, access to services regarding puberty, Sexual Health and issues around Gender Based Violence and of equal importance is the creation of an HIV generation. “Girls and Young women belong to all spaces where decisions are being made, give us platforms, resources and support. We promise to do wonders as girls, because we have the potential,” she said.
Twenty five years ago in Beijing, China, the world made promises to girls all around the globe. Governments promised them they would take all necessary steps to safeguard their equal rights and ensure that rights and ensure that girls achieve their full potential. World leaders promised to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against girls, to provide them opportunities on an equal basis with boys, to promote and protect their rights, to eliminate the economic exploitation and empower them to participate in social, economic, political and cultural life.
According to the UNHRC press release, countries should listen to the girls’ voices and help unlock the potential within them while ending discrimination.
“…and most importantly, at this historical moment, societies must reconceptualise traditional gender roles to unlock young girls’ potential to contribute to their communities and societies. As empowered girls today and as the future leaders tomorrow, they will address this century’s biggest challenges. This will only be possible if countries build back better for a fairer and more equal society, a society where girls’ voices are heard, welcomed and respected and their views are acted upon, and where girls’ rights are protected and promoted, everyday, everywhere.” reads the statement.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the world leaders in 2015, embody a road-map for progress that is sustainable and leaves no one behind. Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is integral to each of the 17 goals. Only by ensuring the rights of women and girls across all goals will get to justice and inclusion, economies that work for all, and sustaining our shared environment now and for future generations.
Though there are girls and young women reaching out for the stars and opening doors and opportunities, there are still a lot of doors that need keys to be opened.