Kathmandu, October 11
Girls today enjoy better life prospects than previous generations in many ways. Prosperity and nutrition are improving, child marriage and teenage pregnancy are declining, and female educational attainment and participation in the labour force are on the rise.
“However, these advances are far from universal and are increasingly tenuous. The poorest— particularly girls — are often left behind, their rights undermined,” said the United Nations Population Fund.
Issuing a statement today on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child, UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem said, “They get less education, have fewer opportunities and are more likely to take jobs that pay less and involve more risk than girls who are economically better off.”
In addition to the social forces against them, girls continue to face high levels of gender-based violence, unwanted pregnancies, and unsafe deliveries, she said.
The day, with the “empower girls before, during and after crises” theme this year, is an occasion to spotlight gender inequalities girls are facing in Nepal. “Because of entrenched gender inequalities, disasters and conflict can make a bad situation even worse for girls,” said the UN Population Fund’s chief. Despite several challenges, many girls manage to play a critical role in their homes and communities, even in crises. “They are often the first responders who care for their families and establish networks that produce social capital and resilience communities need to survive. Protecting and promoting their rights, health, and well-being is therefore an essential element of crisis preparedness, effective response and recovery,” Kanem said.
As part of UNFPA’s transformational goals, we will continue working with partners to end violence against girls including child marriage and work to ensure that all girls enjoy their full spectrum of rights and have the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential, she said, adding, “Today and every day, let us support the power of girls before, during and after crises to build better futures for themselves and their communities.”
A version of this article appears in print on October 12, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.