The charity for girls’ equality, Plan International Australia, has today welcomed best-selling author, commentator and gender equality activist Jamila Rizvi as an ambassador for girls’ rights.
“I am proud to join Plan International Australia on their mission to realise equality for girls both here at home and all over the world,” Ms Rizvi said.
“There are over half a billion adolescent girls alive today and frighteningly, all of them will be affected by gender inequality. Girls should grow up feeling empowered and believing anything is possible. They deserve the same choices and opportunities as boys. They are entitled to the power and agency to shape their own futures.
“The global pandemic has robbed us all of many things. For some of us, our health, our incomes, our education or precious time with family and friends. Many have been devastated by this humanitarian crisis, tragically losing family members or suffering from COVID-19 themselves, as well as experiencing all of the devastating consequences of lockdowns.
“For girls around the world, the impact of COVID-19 has been quite particular. The pandemic has had devastating impacts on girls’ education, particularly in the world’s most vulnerable communities. Specifically unwinding decades of progress in getting girls enrolled in school, strengthening gender transformative curriculums and education systems and improving learning outcomes for them.
“It is critical that we protect girls and young people, especially in times of crisis.”
Ms Rizvi said she believes in a world where girls in all their diversity have access to primary and secondary education, and are free from early marriage, violence, hunger, discrimination, period shame and sexism.
As an intersectional feminist, she is a passionate advocate for girls living with a disability and for true diversity in all aspects of life. “I want our parliaments, television shows and news bulletins, our Olympic teams and our business leaders to reflect our community – a melting pot of cultures, religions and people.”
“The pandemic has exposed and deepened existing cracks in our systems, institutions and leadership. It has also created new ones. The ongoing failure to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines – especially in the world’s most vulnerable countries – is impeding progress towards ending this pandemic. We must turn our attention to the future and fight on for equality for girls and young women today. We do not want and cannot afford to simply return to ‘normal’.”