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World is failing girls, ending child marriage seems 300 years away, says UN Secretary General

October 12, 2023 1:01 PM IST

Child marriage | Girl child atrocities | UN Stories | International Day of the Girl 2023

As the 2030 deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) approaches, the world is failing girls, said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Going by the current trends, the end of child marriage is 300 years away, said Guterres in his message to the world on the occasion of International Day of Girl Child on Wednesday, October 11.

SDG 5 is dedicated to gender equality as well as SDG 10 promotes reducing inequalities.

The UN Secretary General said that if nothing changes by 2030, 110 million young women and girls who should be in classrooms, won’t be. Further, 340 million women and girls will still endure the grinding hardships of extreme poverty, he added.

Nearly 1 in 5 girls are still not completing lower-secondary and nearly 4 in 10 girls are not completing upper-secondary school today. And in certain regions, the numbers are even more dismal. Around 90 per cent of adolescent girls and young women do not use the internet in low-income countries, while their male peers are twice as likely to be online.

He also spoke of the digital divide and related gender dynamics. “New forms of bias and inequality are emerging. The digital divide means many girls are excluded from the online world. Algorithms based on the experience of men and boys are digitising and amplifying sexism,” he said.

Guterres also highlighted that the old forms of discriminations that still continue against girls, citing the situation of girls in Afganistan, who are unable to excise their most basic rights and freedom, including right to education.

Nearly 1 in 4 married/partnered adolescent girls aged 15-19 have experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner at least once in their lifetime.

Guterres also spoke about inclusion of girls in leadership roles. The theme of this year is “Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being”. When women and girls lead, they can shift attitudes, create change and advance policies and solutions that address their needs,” he added.

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Last updated on: 13th July 2024