By Sotharath Chheng
If you are able to read this article on your screen, comfortably living a safe, educated and healthy life right now, you should know that you’re enjoying the privileges that millions of girls around the world can’t afford. Thus, your voice is very important to break the boundaries and barriers those girls are encountering. Because everyone deserves an equal future.
According to UN Women, globally, 130 million girls have no access to education; 12 million girls below 18 years old are married annually; and approximately 15 million girls aged 15-19 have been forced to have non-consensual sex.
In addition, evidence shows that physical or sexual abuse happens to 1 in 3 women worldwide while violence against women and girls, specifically, domestic violence, appears to be increasing since the outbreak of COVID-19, according to recent data from the United Nations.
That is why the International Day of the Girl really matters. It exists to carry on the commitment that was brought forward 25 years ago in 1995 at the World Conference in Beijing to adopt the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action to empower the rights of women and girls. Later on, the United Nations General Assembly officially declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl to address the challenges that girls around the world are experiencing and to fulfill their basic human rights.
The privileges that some of us are enjoying right now were the results of many global movements and sacrifices that many other women from different parts of the world have been investing, probably way before most of you were even born, to fight for a better future that everyone deserves; therefore, all of us have a role as a change-maker to continue taking action until women’s rights aren’t just privileges, but globally recognized basic human rights for every girl and woman all over the world.
We are all responsible for creating a better world for the next generations and opening doors for them. Women’s empowerment does not only benefit women, but it contributes to sustainable development which benefits everyone.
Because when girls and women are educated and receive basic human rights they deserve, they can help to solve the global challenges we face today.
As we rise to take charge of our own future, we must take this opportunity to raise our voices even louder to ensure that no one is left behind.
Happy International Day of the Girl!
Voices of Youth Cambodia, supported by UNICEF, is a vibrant community of youth bloggers and digital content creators.https://voicesofyouthcambodia.com/