The achievement of gender equality is imperative for our future. The complete empowerment of women and girls is not only crucial to improving the lives of families and communities, but is also key to creating sustainable change. That’s why each year we celebrate International Day of the Girl Child on October 11, a day to join global efforts to ensure a world free of discrimination for girls.
This year’s theme is Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement, and raises awareness about the limited use and the lack of systematic analysis that further limits our ability to examine and share in the well-being of half of the world.
Today, more girls are in school, less girls are being married before the age of 18, and more young women are growing up to be successful agents of their own change. However, there is still a lot of progress to be made—and part of the way to get there is through data.
Indeed, this year, the global community is urged to place greater emphasis on collecting and analyzing data that is particularly girl-focused, girl-relevant and sex disaggregated. This call for action comes in recognition of the fact that while the ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for girls must be celebrated, there exists a significant gap in the data available on girls and young women.
In a world that increasingly relies on data-driven technology to diagnose and provide adequate support for various movements, we must emphasize the collection and the proper evaluation of information on the position of women and girls.
That’s why The Hunger Project places a huge importance on gender-specific Monitoring and Evaluation including:
- Collecting sex disaggregated data in areas such as child health monitoring,attendance in school, financial inclusion and child marriage.
- Developing The Hunger Project’s Women’s Empowerment Index,which measures women’s empowerment in five key domains.
- Creating of our Maternal Health Dashboard,which has been crucial in providing easy access to reliable and vital data on women and child health.
- Our recently launched Her Choice program,to end child marriage is evaluating girls 12-under 18 on if they are able to decide if, when, and whom to marry.
This focus on measurement also must go hand-in-hand with on-the-ground programs that emphasize girls. The Hunger Project-Bangladesh, for example, leads a vast network of 500 NGOs, government ministries, schools, colleges and women’s organizations in the National Girl Child Advocacy Forum, which advocates for the importance of providing better healthcare, nutrition and education to girls.
Since the year 2000, The Hunger Project-Bangladesh celebrates National Girl Child Day on September 30, with rallies, events, discussions, competitions and more. For the first time ever this year, the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh are officially observing the day countrywide.
In addition, the National Girl Child Advocacy Forum is publishing a special supplement in a national daily newspaper, that will include voices from the President, Prime Minister, State Minister of Women and Children Affair and The Hunger Project’s-Bangladesh Country Director and National Girl Child Advocacy Forum President Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar.
This Day of the Girl Child, let’s reaffirm our commitment to empowering girls to lead healthy and secure lives. Girls have already changed the world for the better, and this generation has the power to magnify that change.