Latin America: a continent of contradictions. A paradise for some; a place of abuses and discrimination for some others. This is the case of thousands of girls, adolescents and young women, who face on a daily basis several barriers to grow and gain full development.
The statistics are alarming. Twenty-three percent of the teenagers of 15 to 17 years old do not attend school; a 19% of teenagers of these ages is married. This is the only region within the world where pregnancies and birth in girls under 15 years old is raising, as most of them are a consequence of sexual violence and intimidation.
Today, when we celebrate Women’s International Day, Plan International raise its voice one more time for all the girls and young women around the world because every woman was a girls and every girl will become a woman.
This is the opportunity to celebrate the achievements towards gender equality and, at the same time, to remember that still a lot needs to be done so each girl and woman could enjoy their rights.
Our commitment is with all the girls, adolescents and young women, especially those who live excluded and marginalized, to have the chance to learn, to lead, to decide and thrive in their lives.
This means that each girls, adolescent and young woman can receive education, training and opportunities that she needs to have a fulfil life, dignified and with economic autonomy; that she can take her own decisions about her life; that she can have a full control over her own body, and she can take decisions based on her identity and relations; that she can grow within a safe environment, without violence, intimidation nor discrimination.
We have a goal: to reach, through our work, 100 million girls and young women in the world in the next five years.
To achieve this we need everybody’s support: men and women, boys and girls, young and adult people, decisions makers, religious and communitarian leaders, entrepreneurs, families and teachers.
The Sustainable Development Goals that the international community has defined for the next 15 years cannot be achieved without the specific commitment for gender equality within the political agenda and without investing more and better in girls, adolescents and young women. This is not only ethical but also is more profitable when it comes to economics. For example, estimations shows that each dollar invested in actions to raise the amount of years on girls and adolescents’ educations, through delaying the early marriage and pregnancy, it has a return for societies of 5 dollars.
The girls have the power to change the world. Our efforts are focused on achieve a substantial change in their lives.
The moment is now! Happy Women’s Day! Proud to be one and proud to work day by day for and with them.