Since 2012, the international community has celebrated International Day of the Girl Child on October 11. The purpose of this day is to highlight the challenges and discrimination faced by girls in preparing them for the future on an equal footing with boys.
Progress has been made over the past decade (30% reduction in child marriages and female genital mutilation, gender parity in elementary school at the global level), but much work remains to be done. 12 million girls under 18 still get married every year, and 15 million adolescents have experienced forced sex, while more than 130 million girls around the world do not have access to education. Girls are also particularly affected by armed conflict.
France encourages and supports the states that have adopted compulsory schooling for girls, that facilitate their access to training courses in promising new areas, including in technological and scientific fields, that facilitate access by all young people to the opportunities offered by digital technologies, that enable adolescents to access quality sexual health services, that combat discriminatory practices and social norms. This is the idea behind the feminist diplomacy advocated during the Joint G7 Development and Education Ministers Meeting in July aimed at improving girls’ access to education and retention in schools.
On this symbolic day, France reaffirms its commitment to the rights of the girl child, reflected by its concrete and innovative action, including the forthcoming launch in Niger and Ethiopia of a development impact contract in order to help improve menstrual hygiene management, which is critical to the retention of girls in school. Commitment will be further increased in 2020 when we will mark the 25th anniversary of the last United Nations World Conference on Women and the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, and Paris will host the Generation Equality Forum. This international summit, co-chaired by France and Mexico and organized by UN Women, will bring together states as well as actors from civil society and the private sector. It will constitute a milestone in promoting women’s rights since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995.