GIRLS' RIGHTS AND GENDER EQUALITY | Plan International Skip to main content


For us it's about challenging social norms and attitudes to achieve transformative change for girls and their communities. Globally, one in five girls are denied an education by the daily realities of poverty, violence and discrimination. Every day, girls are taken out of school, married far too young, and subjected to violence. This is a violation of their rights, and a huge waste of potential with serious global consequences. Yet we know that investing in girls has the potential to transform the lives of entire communities and countries. We advocate for greater attention to be paid to the specific rights and needs of girls in EU external action, in both development and humanitarian interventions. Girls’ rights and gender equality is a cross-cutting theme within our work on children’s rights, youth economic empowerment, child protection, humanitarian aid and the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.


  • In line with the evaluation of the EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment 2010-2015 (GAP I), the EU must provide adequate resources to fund gender equality and ensure leadership from the highest levels across the institutions; 
  • The EU institutions must ensure girls are included in all work on gender and that all data is disaggregated by sex and age to reflect the specific needs of girls; 
  • Challenging discriminatory social norms must be at the heart of the EU’s approach to gender equality, as this is vital to ensuring transformative change for girls and their communities;
  • All development cooperation and humanitarian programmes must take a rights-based approach to gender equality, focusing on the poorest and most marginalised girls and women;
  • The EU must do more to mainstream gender across all funding and external assistance and address the weaknesses and challenges identified in the evaluation of the GAP I.
The EU’s Gender Action Plan III
While the European Union’s Gender Action Plan II (GAP) ‘Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women through EU External Relations 2016-2020’ is coming to an end, we would like its successor, the GAP III, to ensure further improvements. 2020 is a pivotal year when it comes to gender equality, and we are considering the new GAP as an opportunity for the EU to take a stand for girls and young women, in all their diversity, around the world.

Girls' Action