The third annual European Week of Action for Girls took place from 11-18 October 2013 (see agenda here), timed to coincide with the International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October.
This week of policy, media, campaigning and youth events was centered in and around the EU institutions, highlighting the barriers girls face worldwide in accessing their rights.
From invisible to visible: Girls as drivers of change
For millions of girls worldwide, their dreams, ambitions and plans are shattered simply because they are girls. Poverty, discrimination and violence combine to deny millions of girls around the world their basic rights, including to education, healthcare, adequate and nutritious food, and protection.
Gender-based discrimination is often deeply rooted in social and cultural attitudes and norms, compounded by religion and reinforced through discriminatory national legislation or policies, social structures and education curricula.
Experience shows that when girls are not explicitly mentioned as a unique cohort, interventions do not reach them. Girls face particular and acute challenges which are different to those of women, men, and boys. At the same time, girls’ experiences differ according to their age, with adolescent girls facing different challenges from younger girls.
However, if girls are empowered to participate in decision-making, in the life of their communities and in economic, civic and political life, everyone stands to benefit.
The European Week of Action for Girls highlighted the role girls play as drivers of change, calling on the EU to promote and protect girls’ rights worldwide by ensuring they are visible in EU policy and programming.
By including girls in programming and measures of success, including increased data collection, disaggregated by sex and age, the EU and partner countries will be better placed to to identify and respond to the particular needs of girls across the different age groups, helping them to unleash their potential as powerful drivers of change.
The European Week of Action for Girls was organised by Plan EU Office under the patronage of the European Parliament and in partnership with United Nations Brussels, supported by partner civil society organisations.