Gender equality won’t be possible for the next generation of women if adolescent girls, aged 10-19, continue to be left out of our aid and development agenda.
Our newest report It’s Our Time reveals that we have a blind spot when it comes to the inequalities faced by adolescent girls that’s stopping us from reaching full and enduring gender equality.
Girls in this age bracket are at a critical juncture in their lives – it’s when the paths of girls and boys greatly diverge. Girls are given less opportunities and have different expectations forced upon them, simply because of their age and their gender. They are at risk of being married before the age of 18 and of being denied access to secondary education, limiting their chances of gaining meaningful employment and cutting them off from the knowledge and resources that will give them full autonomy over their bodies and their futures. This exacerbates existing inequalities even further.
‘Youth’ and ‘women’ tend to be the focus of aid and development efforts and funding, yet the gap between these two groups, the period of adolescence when girls are at their most vulnerable, is a time in which their needs are often ignored.
Australia can address this blind-spot by developing and monitoring the impact of a stand-alone action plan for adolescent girls.
If we can make this happen, girls will be able to enjoy equal opportunities throughout their lives, so they are safe, included and supported to thrive.
Show your support for gender equality – email our leaders and ask them to include adolescent girls in their aid and development agenda.