International Day of the Girl Child, celebrated today, recognises girls’ rights and the challenges they face around the world.
This respect is endorsed by the organisation and mainstreamed throughout its activities – from the efforts of the 1 in 5 campaign against the sexual abuse of children, to the relentless ambition of the organisation’s education specialists, working alongside experts and academics, to develop new ideas on teaching that will allow girls and boys to do better at school and reach their full potential.
But that is not all. The gender equality unit trumpets at every opportunity the merits of the ‘Istanbul’ women’s safety convention, which combats the scourges of violence and domestic abuse. It also strives to dismantle every barrier which impedes the progress of women and girls.
The Parliamentary Assembly has done much to raise awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM) and the organisation’s lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) unit provides a similar service on behalf of the girls who face prejudice due to their sexual orientation.
The Youth Sector is invested in encouraging the leadership skills of young women. Anti-human trafficking monitors seek to protect the victims of human slavery. The staff of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Roma issues promote the rights of impoverished Roma girls and women, whilst built into the Social Charter are standards which benefit part-time workers, many of whom are young women and traditionally among the lowest paid of Europe’s workers.
The battle to assure the rights of girls is unceasing. So are the efforts of the Council of Europe to ensure that girls enter adulthood with confidence about their futures and with their rights respected.
Happy International Day of the Girl Child.