The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released a report on the State of World Population 2016 last October 20, 2016. This report reveals the potential gains of society by empowering 10 year-old girls of today. It also shows key statistics that may affect the future lives of these girls along with their communities and nations.
According to the report HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy and child labor are undermining girls’ health, rights and opportunities. “In the Philippines, teenage pregnancy limits far too many girls’ hopes, dreams and aspirations. It also costs the country around P33 billion each year in foregone earnings,” says UNFPA’s Beck.
ATM: Launch of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) State of the World Population 2016 Report and Cohort Study 10-year old Filipinos The 2016 State of the World Population (SWOP) report theme is 10: How our common future depends on a girl at this decisive age, highlighting the importance of investing and supporting today’s 10 year old girls in order to build a prosperous and sustainable future for the Philippines as envisioned in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. #SWOP2016
There are also practices that prevent girls, as young as 10 years old, from realizing their full potential and be able to contribute to the social and economic progress of their nation. Without the contribution of these girls it will be difficult to fulfill the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and its accompanying 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Age 10 is crucial for girls because it is when they approach puberty and prepare themselves for adulthood. Unfortunately, there are some areas in the world where girls are treated as commodities that can be traded. Instead of being educated and trained to achieve their full potential, they are forced to bear children and live a life of servitude.
The report also showed that there are about 60 million 10 year old girls are systematically disadvantaged at the global level as they move through adolescence into adulthood. Whenever this happens, it is not just the girls who suffer disadvantages but the whole nation.
“Impeding a girl’s safe, healthy path through adolescence to a productive and fulfilling adulthood is a violation of her rights,” says Klaus Beck UNFPA Representative in the Philippines. “But it also takes a toll on her community and nation. Whenever a girl’s potential goes unrealized, we all lose.”
On the other hand, nations and societies stand to gain more by empowering 10 year-old girls of today. According to Beck, “By ensuring girls right to education, including age appropriate comprehensive sexuality education and access to youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services and advice, we could improve the lives of hundreds of thousands, reap long term gains, and help ensure the success of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
This agenda is a global blueprint of peace, prosperity, and sustainable future to 2030, leaving no one behind. It was endorsed by world leaders in 2015. The report argues that eliminating hindrances that hold back the 10 year old girls of today can help ensure the success of this agenda. It also states that girls who reach adulthood with an education and their health and rights intact could triple their lifetime incomes, thereby fueling progress for generations and entire nations.
In 15 years, the lifespan of the 2030 agenda, the 10-year-old girl will be 25.
- Stipulate legal equality for girls, backed by consistent legal practice.
- Ban all harmful practices against girls, and make 18 the minimum marriage age.
- Provide safe, high-quality education that fully upholds gender equality in curricula, teaching standards and extracurricular activities.
- In working towards universal health care, institute a 10-year-old mental and physical check-up for all girls.
- Provide age-specific comprehensive sexuality education when puberty begins.
- Institute a rigorous and systematic focus on inclusion, acting on all factors rendering girls vulnerable to being left behind.
- Track and close investment gaps in young adolescent girls.
- Mobilize new funds for mental health, protection and reducing unpaid work that constrains options for girls.
- Use the 2030 agenda data revolution to better track progress for girls, including on sexual and reproductive health.
- Engage girls, boys and all the people around them in challenging and changing gender discriminatory norms.
According to the statistics, there are over 1 million 10-year old girls in the Philippines. Beck noted that they could earn over 45% more over the next 15 years if they are given the tools, experience, and opportunities needed to reach their potential.
“How we invest in and support 10-year-old girls today will determine what our world will look like in 2030,” notes UNFPA’s Klaus Beck. “With support from family, community and nation, and the full realization of her rights, a 10-year-old girl can thrive and help bring about the future we all want.”