Thursday, 8 February 2018

SDG Knowledge Hub/Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen: Girls’ Rights Are Human Rights: Positioning Girls at the Heart of the International Agenda

SDG Knowledge Hub
A project by IISD

Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen
CEO, Plan International
8 February 2018
share this

Girls’ Rights Are Human Rights: Positioning Girls at the Heart of the International Agenda
Plan International Laos
story highlights

The SDGs go further than their predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which mentioned girls only in the context of education.

But to ensure that girls' needs do not slip through the cracks, Plan International urges the international community to: Address girls’ double burden of gender- and age-based discrimination and commit to the realisation of girls’ rights; Take measures to bridge the gap between women’s and children’s rights; Ensure that norms and frameworks for producing future international policy and agreements better reflect the challenges that girls face; and Urge States to comply with international standards that advance girls’ rights.

The Sustainable Development Goals were a step forward for girls. The adoption of a standalone goal on gender equality, Goal 5, was a major landmark, an indicator of the international community’s commitment to ensuring that women and girls have equal opportunities by 2030. Furthermore, girls are mentioned explicitly in seven targets. But do the SDGs go far enough in truly protecting girls’ rights?

Plan International’s new research argues perhaps not.

Girls are one of the largest excluded groups on the planet, carrying a double burden of gender and age-based discrimination. They are disadvantaged as compared to boys in education, work, health and family life, and can experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination from poverty, ethnicity and disability.

Despite these challenges, international law and agreements continue to take a relatively gender and age-neutral approach, effectively rendering girls invisible. Particularly concerning is the fact that both the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) – the cornerstones of girls’ rights – explicitly refer to girls only once. The specific challenges and barriers girls face to accessing their rights are all too often concealed under the ageless category of “women” or the gender-neutral categories of “children”, “adolescents” or “youth”. This means that girls continually fall in the shadow of women’s and children’s rights, and the specific barriers they face to claiming their rights remain obscured.

In order to better understand this issue, and position girls at the heart of the international agenda, Plan International has launched the Girls’ Rights Platform. This platform houses the world’s most comprehensive and searchable human rights database of more than 1,400 international policy documents. This unique tool will be an important resource for diplomats, NGOs, activists and academics, providing them with easy access to robust language to promote and protect girls’ rights. The Girls’ Rights Platform will also be a hub for training to help build knowledge and understanding of these critical issues, and includes a 6-module training tool.

Together with the Girls Rights Platform, Plan International has published an in-depth study on the status of girls in international law. The Girls’ Rights are Human Rights report dives into these 1,400 international policy documents and highlights the gaps in human rights protection for girls.

One of the important findings of Plan International’s research relates to a concerning pattern of reservations in international law and policy. Reservations are caveats to international agreements that allow States to choose not to be bound by particular provisions. The research has found, unsurprisingly, that most reservations around girls concern their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), as well as issues surrounding equality in marriage and family life. These reservations are often justified by States on the grounds of religious or cultural differences, but whatever the reason, they erode girls’ autonomy over their own life and their bodies. Even the Sustainable Development Goals attracted a high number of reservations, a third of which relate to gender equality and SRHR. Despite the few specific mentions of girls, the high number of reservations on these critical issues calls into question the willingness of Member States to truly move the needle on girls’ rights.

The Sustainable Development Goals do go further than their predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which mentioned girls only in the context of education. Still, girls in the SDGs remain grouped together with women or boys. In addition to the 2030 Agenda being the object of many reservations on issues critical to girls’ rights, the Goals don’t go far enough to truly single girls out and highlight their specific needs and barriers that are different from women and boys.

As a global leader on girls’ rights, Plan International is calling on the international community to single out girls, articulating their rights and needs in a way that has never been done before. If the current gender and age-neutral approaches continue, girls will remain in the shadows. Plan International urges the international community to:

    Address girls’ double burden of gender- and age-based discrimination and commit to the realisation of girls’ rights.
    Take measures to bridge the gap between women’s and children’s rights that currently render girls invisible.
    Ensure that norms and frameworks for producing future international policy and agreements better reflect the challenges that girls face.
    Urge States to comply with international standards that advance girls’ rights.

Without making these changes, girls around the globe will continue to slip through the cracks. In their implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, it is critical that States intentionally and explicitly address the double burden of discrimination faced by girls in all issues, and recognise the realisation of girls’ rights as an objective in itself.

related events

    Launch Event: Girls' Rights are Human Rights

SDGs
4. Quality Education5. Gender Equality10. Reduced Inequalities
Issues
Gender, Human Rights & Indigenous Peoples
Actors
Stakeholders and Major Groups
Actions
Project
Tags
Youth
share this
related posts
17 SDGs
Global Goals Website Creates Target-level Icons
25 January 2018 | Nathalie Risse, Ph.D., SDG Knowledge Hub
17 SDGs
Online Tool and Database Analyze NDC-SDG Links
9 November 2017 | Leila Mead, SDG Knowledge Hub
17 SDGs
‘Unreasonable Goals Program’ Hosts Entrepreneurs Focused on SDGs
3 August 2017 | Catherine Benson Wahlén, SDG Knowledge Hub
7 SDGs
Companies Partner on Girls’ Education, Youth Empowerment
27 June 2017 | Leila Mead, SDG Knowledge Hub
9 SDGs
Stakeholder Forum Reviews Current Submissions to SDGs e-Inventory
26 June 2013 | Lynn Wagner, Ph.D., Director, SDG Knowledge, IISD ...
10 SDGs
ODI Develops List of Proposals on Post-2015 Development Goals
14 January 2013 | Tanya Rosen, IISD Reporting Services
Newsletter

The SDG Update compiles the news, commentary and upcoming events that are published on the SDG Knowledge Hub each day, delivering information on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to your inbox.
Sign up

    NEWS
    GUEST ARTICLES
    POLICY BRIEFS
    GENERATION 2030
    SEARCH

    EVENTS
    ACTORS
    REGIONS
    SDGs

    ABOUT
    CONTACT
    HELP & FAQ
    follow us:

A project by:
Designed by:
Funding
provided by:

© 1990-2018, IISD. Excerpts may only be used with appropriate academic citation and a link back to the corresponding article/page used.

    NEWS
    GUEST ARTICLES
    POLICY BRIEFS
    GENERATION 2030
    EVENTS
    ACTORS
    REGIONS
    SDGs
    SEARCH

Post a Comment