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UNFPA Director says girls continue to suffer disadvantages

October 12, 2016 By Regina Pratt

 Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin has observed that despite advances in recent years, girls across the world continue to suffer severe disadvantages, discrimination and exclusion, merely for being young and being female.

He made the above statement yesterday (October 11, 2016), while observing the International Day of the Girl Child on the theme, ‘The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.’

He noted that for many girls, puberty marks an accelerating trajectory into inequality and that it also represents a critical window for preventive and protective investments that the world must make available, if they were serious about achieving full gender equality.

“Today, as we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, the world has an unprecedented opportunity to focus on the power of girls to drive progress and transform our world. By prominently featuring girls’ rights in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international community has responded enthusiastically to the evidence that investing in girls yields huge returns,” he said.

The UNFPA Boss noted that the new agenda acknowledges that increased attention to the health and well-being of the world’s adolescent girls, including their sexual and reproductive health, was a necessary condition for success.

He called for a stronger focus on adolescent girls across the world.

Dr. Otostimehin said they were ensuring that girls were able to exercise their rights, pursue their education and have the skills and opportunity to join the workforce, which was essential for their own well-being, and a critical foundation for the health and prosperity of families, communities and nations.

“These rights include choosing when and whom to marry, when or whether to have children, and being free of violence, abuse and exploitation. When girls are free to define their lives and enjoy their rights, they not only enjoy better health and healthier children; they are also better able to contribute to national development as economic actors and entrepreneurs,” he said.

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