Campaigning for Girls’ Rights

Judy Mintz, ICJW’s UN representative to the Working Group on Girls (WGG) attended a Townhall Meeting in New York on Girls’ Rights to mark International Day of the Girl 2020.

The start of the 11 Days of Action around International Day of the Girl on October 11 was marked by a Townhall Meeting with 110 participants. They represented grassroots girl activists from around the world, policy makers, organizations including UNICEF, UN Women and the Girl Scouts, members of civil society, as well as host delegations from Canada, Peru and Turkey. 

Led entirely by girl advocates, the session began with eloquent and heartfelt testimonies from girls living in Afghanistan, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda.  The event topics included the goals of equity for girls, access to education, health care, economic justice, gender based violence, gender bias, the specific needs and inclusion of girls of color and those of the LGBTQIA community, and climate change. 

There was an opportunity to share common concerns, to provide a space for dialogue, to learn best practices, and to ask questions and receive answers.  It was disheartening to still be reminded about forced early marriage and the lack of sanitary products keeping girls out of school and causing stigma and bullying.  Currently COVID 19 adds to their challenges, with its impact on family finances, schooling, and increased domestic violence in their homes. 

The girls were challenged to be bold and confident.  It was inspiring to see their determination, to witness their empowerment, to hear their stories, to learn about their dreams, and to witness the impact and differences that they have achieved