– Vivian Chieh

Did you know that statistically, 1 in 4 girls aged 15-19 years old are neither employed nor in education compared to 1 in 10 boys of the same age? And did you know that worldwide, 1 in 3 women have experience either physical or sexual assault? These should be enough reasons for us to initiate a discussion about the empowerment of women and girls.

International Day of the Girl Child (declared by the United Nations) is an international observance day that aims to raise awareness in light of the issues faced by women and girls around the world. Such issues revolve around gender inequality, a cultural model that discriminates women based upon their gender. Furthermore, issues regarding access to education, health qualities such as nutrient and medical care, legal rights, violence against women and forced child marriage are all examples of how women and girls today have and are still living on eggshells.

With the emergence of the pandemic, girls and children in particular are victims of the pandemic’s long term effects. School closures render girls who are forced to stay at home at risk of domestic and sexual violence. Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is increasing as well.

Women’s vulnerabilities are being used to an advantage, and with the existing inequalities and discrimination there needs to be more work towards providing an enabling environment where women and girls are able to feel protected and loved by the world. This stresses how we must make sure that just like International Day of the Girl, action speaks louder than words and so: we should start today.

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