By Danielle Roth, ChildFund Program Officer
What is it like to be a woman or a girl in today’s world? You might be surprised to know that in in Rwanda, women hold more than 50 percent of the seats in parliament (Inter-Parliamentary Union, 2013). Women live and work on agricultural land across the globe, yet in developing countries women possess less than one quarter of agricultural land holdings (FAO, 2013). In Africa, enrollment in lower secondary school (equivalent to our middle school) has increased from 28 to 43 percent, yet the enrollment of girls is only 39 percent compared to 48 percent for boys (UNESCO, 2011).
Globally, the statistics on women’s health, access to secondary education and realization of justice (among other subjects) are alarming. However, they also hold promise for what the world could be when girls and women are empowered to realize their rights and make the best decisions for themselves, their children, their partners and the community.
There is no shortage of data on the well-being of women and girls globally. The Women’s Stats Project is a comprehensive database on the status of the world’s women. The project’s maps provide a visual depiction of topics as diverse as women’s physical security and discrepancy in secondary education.
Additionally, the United Nations publishes a report every five years on the status of the world’s women and girls, along with biennial publication on the progress of women and girls on a particular theme. The most recent edition of the Progress of the World’s Women looks at access to justice.
Information about the obstacles facing adolescent girls, and their potential, can be found on Girl Effect. Ultimately, the information available about the state of the world’s women and girls is vast and deep, thanks to the efforts of researchers and non-governmental organizations like ChildFund who recognize the value of this investment.
The 50 Days Campaign for Women and Girls reminds us that the time is now to encourage the U.S. government to continue to direct financial and human resources to women and girls issues globally. Former Secretary of State Clinton made huge investments to these ends, creating national actions plans around women, peace and security, mobilizing to prevent and respond to violence against women, and developing a Vision for Action to end child marriage.
Now we want to assure that Secretary of State Kerry continues down this same path. Please continue to follow us on our blog, Facebook and Twitter to learn how ChildFund is supporting this global campaign and more about our work with women and girls.