21 Oct, KATHMANDU- Nine out of 10 ten-year-old girls live in developing countries while one in five lives in Least Developed Country, states a new report.
“The State of World Population”, the flagship report of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched yesterday in New York, notes that investing in 10-year-old girls could yield huge demographic dividend, pump billions into national economies.
UNFPA makes publish this report every year to sensitize governments, leaders, policy makers, planners, community leaders and the general public on key population priority issues.
Girls are less likely than boys to complete schooling and more likely to face forced marriage, child labour and other undermining practices, the report says. “More than half of the world’s 60 million 10-year-old girls live in the 48 countries with the worst gender inequality and that $21 billion a year dividend for developing countries can be unlocked if all 10-year-old girls complete secondary education.”
Practices that harm girls and violate their human rights–starting at age 10–prevent them from realizing their full potential as adults and from contributing to the economic and social progress of their communities and nations, warns UNFPA in the report. “Without their contribution, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals may never be achieved.”
Ten is a pivotal age for girls everywhere, as puberty approaches. In some parts of the world, a girl at this age enjoys limitless possibilities and begins making choices that will influence her education and, later, her work life. But in other parts, a girl who goes through puberty is suddenly seen as a commodity that may be bought, sold or traded, the report reveals.
The State of World Population further finds that girls are less likely than boys to complete formal schooling at the secondary and university levels, are more likely to be in poorer physical and mental health, and will find it harder to get paid jobs. “Every day an estimated 47,700 girls are married before 18.”
The challenge now, UNFPA says, is to scale up these interventions to reach more girls, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, by age 10. RSS