United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) revealed on Thursday its annual State of the World Population Report. In its report, it has insisted for augmenting investments in the world’s 60 million 10-year- old girls group.
According to the State of World Population 2016, “More than half of the world’s 60 million 10-year-old girls live in 48 countries with the worst gender equality, and nine out of 10 live in developing countries.”
It has chosen 10 as the target age for girls because it’s the age of greatest anatomical changes in a girl i.e. onset of puberty. It is at this stage, states the report, that “at which point in some areas of the world, a girl is then viewed as a commodity to be bought, sold, or traded. Girls at this age are forced to leave school, marry, bear children, and live a lifetime of servitude.”
“Impeding a girl’s safe, healthy path through adolescence to a productive and autonomous adulthood is a violation of her rights,” the Population Fund’s Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin said and that such an impediment is a loss not just for the girl but her entire community and nation.
The report said almost 90 percent of 10-year-olds live in less developed regions of the world, with half in Asia and the Pacific, including 20 percent in India and about 13 percent in China. Of the top 10 countries with the largest number of 10-year-olds, the only one that isn’t classified in the report as ‘less developed’ is the United States.
It is easy to discern from the report that it is the African and Asian nations which are at the lowest rung. Almost half of boys in South Sudan do not get primary education and the picture is even harrowing for its girls. The figure is almost same for countries such as Congo and Liberia. Even Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa is too wanting in this regard.
However, the report has, on a positive note, has also noted ‘proven public policy options that can dismantle some of the barriers that hold girls back.’ These girls, if allowed to finish their secondary education, would add another $21 billion per year, the report added.
Dr. Osotimehin also stated, “How we invest in and support 10-year-old girls today will determine what our world will look like in 2030” and the report too warned that Without their contribution, “the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its accompanying 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may never be achieved.”