Empower the Girl Child
8 November - 17 December 1999
Working Group Summaries
About the Working Group
In 1995, the Fourth World Conference on Women agreed on a Platform for Action in which 189 governments affirmed the importance of the life cycle approach to women's rights The Platform for Action defined the following 9 strategic objectives for the girl-child:
The Girl Child Working Group will discuss how these strategic objectives have been met and what lessons have been learned in efforts to achieve these goals. The first week will address overall progress, and the following weeks will look at specific areas that are relevant to the girl child. These include: education; economic exploitation; violence; and sexual and reproductive health. Under each topic we will also discuss to what extent governments have taken action (new laws, policies, resources etc.), government/NGO partnerships and successful NGO programmes, as well as the involvement of girls themselves in shaping their own futures. The key issue of participation will be incorporated in all weeks and we will also seek best practices. Supporting information is exceedingly important in these discussions and we hope that participants will provide whenever possible data and their sources.
Week 1: An assessment of overall progress for girls, including such issues as the overall progress for girls since Beijing; strategies and programmes that have made progress possible; obstacles remaining.
Week 2: Girls' education has been recognized as a valuable investment and a critical right, as well as a preventive measure against many abuses and violations. We will discuss the progress made in girls' education; policies, laws and changes that are improving the situation of girls; families and communities awareness of the value of girls education.
Week 3: Girls' economic empowerment. This covers working girls, issues of inheritance and other forms of economic exploitation. We will discuss such issues as areas where girls work and where they are the most exploited; areas of work where their situation has improved; key strategies, policies, laws, and/or programs, etc.
Week 4: Violence against the girl child. We will discuss the risk of violence against girls, such as infanticide, domestic abuse, traditional harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, prostitution, and kidnapping and rape as deliberate policies of war.
Week 5: Sexual and Reproductive Health of the girl child. This issue is still sensitive and often considered as taboo in many cultures. We will discuss the situation for adolescent girls and the extent to which they are subject to early marriage, unwanted pregnancies, and are increasingly affected by HIV and AIDS.
Week 6: Emerging Issues. Since the Fourth World Conference on Women, the world has observed increasing influences of globalization. We will discuss the positive and negative impacts of globalization on girls.