Within the framework of the International Day of the Girl, declared by the UN in 2011, the current situation of millions of girls in the world who suffer from different problems is brought to light: from gender inequality to sexual abuse. This date recalls the importance of ending the violence of which they are victims and protecting their human rights.
Every year, the figures on cases of discrimination or violence against minors continue to be alarming.
During the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the situation has worsened with the increase in vulnerability and exposure in childhood and adolescence to violence against the rights of the youngest, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
This October 11, more than a celebration, the International Day of the Girl is a date to raise awareness in the population about the bad situation that many minors face and that ranges from gender inequality, obstacles to accessing a good education, marriage child, sexual and intra-family violence, among others.
More education to fight inequality
In many cultures, being a woman is a disadvantage. Minors, especially in developing countries, continue to suffer because they do not have the same rights as children in areas such as education or their participation in different activities within society.
According to Unicef, “Girls of all walks of life are raising their voices against inequalities. Around the world, girl-led movements are curbing early marriage and female genital mutilation, demanding action to combat climate change and innovating in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “
Some figures from the UN agency remain alarming: more than 200 million girls and women in the world have suffered genital mutilation; about 650 million women have been married before reaching the age of 18; only 2 out of 5 girls complete secondary education; 500 million women do not have adequate facilities to manage their menstrual hygiene, among other data.
Unlike girls who have suffered the most, it has been shown that those who have received good levels of education are more likely to overcome the barriers of poverty and discrimination. For this reason, UN-Women highlights the need for the governments of each country to implement public policies that guarantee the protection of girls and adolescents.
Since 2011, the UN has not tired of repeating the message to all nations, especially where gender gaps and the non-compliance of girls’ human rights is more accentuated: “adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated and healthy, not only during critical formative years, but also as they mature and become women. If they receive effective support during adolescence, girls have the potential to change the world, both as empowered girls of today and as workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, heads of households and political leaders of tomorrow ”.
The serious situation of Latin American girls and adolescents
The harsh reality experienced by many girls in Latin America overshadows other problems such as gender inequality or access to more opportunities.
According to UNICEF figures from 2017, more than one million girls and adolescents are victims of sexual violence in Latin America and the Caribbean and one in four has married before the age of 18.
This October 11, the Guatemalan government reported more than 8,100 cases of sexual violence against girls and adolescents between January and October 2021.
The psychologist Lucía Pinzón, from the Secretariat Against Sexual Violence, Exploitation and Trafficking in Persons (Svet) of Guatemala, indicated during a press conference that, between January and August of this year, the Public Ministry received 8,102 complaints of sexual violence against girls and teenagers.
“Most of the aggressors are within the family circle,” said Pinzón, adding that every year reports of sexual violence increase from 800 to 1,000 cases since the Government has fostered a culture of reporting.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations of Peru published a report that indicates that, from January to August of this year, a total of 4,151 cases of rape of girls and adolescents were attended in the country.
Today is the #International Girl’s Day. Girls who need to play with non-sexist toys, girls to whom we owe a happy childhood, protected, without being sold into prostitution, raped, married, without female genital mutilation, without abuse … Girls being girls … pic.twitter.com/ifE3FGKxeC
– tessaimpresa (@tessaimpresa) October 11, 2021
In addition, the Online Live Birth Certificate Registration System of the Peruvian Ministry of Health reported that there were 1,179 births in 2020, whose managers were girls between 0 and 14 years old.
“This harsh reality is very worrying, not only because a pregnancy of a girl under 14 years of age is legally considered a rape, but it also represents a high risk to her life, her physical and mental health, totally destroys her life project and it violates their development and comprehensive well-being, ”said the Peruvian Ombudsman on Monday and asked the Government to guarantee comprehensive care for girls and adolescents who are victims of sexual violence.
In Bolivia, where the UN commemoration coincides with Bolivian Women’s Day, the figures are much more alarming. Data from the Ombudsman’s Office assure that 34,675 complaints of violence against women have been received so far this year, while the Ministry of Health reported 39,999 pregnancies of girls and adolescents between 10 and 19 years of age in 2020. Also, from January As of October of this year, the Bolivian Prosecutor’s Office has reported 90 femicides due to sexist violence.
And Mexico, a country that is facing a serious crisis of violence against women, an average of 10 femicides are registered daily, according to figures from UN Women and civil organizations.
The National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence against Women (Conavim) of Mexico indicated in this regard that 672 cases of these have been registered between January and August of this year.
With EFE, official and local media