Gender Justice Issues
Girls’ Rights

Three schoolgirls in Ghana. Photo copyright Paula Stromberg.

What Are Girls’ Human Rights?

Girls’ human Rights are articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention of the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Being both young and female, these international treaties are relevant to girls and lists their rights, ranging from social, economic, political, cultural rights and others.

Global Fund for Women believes that girls rights must be addressed and adolescent girls must be recognized and included in the fight for gender justice.

Although international law safeguards the rights of all human beings, very few provisions in human rights treaties mention or attribute rights to girls specifically.

What are the Barriers to Securing Girls’ Human Rights?

Adolescent girls face multiple levels of discrimination based on their age and gender, and other intersecting identities—such as ethnicity, sexuality, or disability. Girls’ disadvantage is also magnified by the violence, insecurity, unequal opportunities, harmful gender norms, and other systemic barriers that threaten their lives and rob them of their potential.

60 percent of undernourished people worldwide are girls or women (Women and Hunger Facts). And, if the current trend continues, one in three girls can expect to be the target of some form of gender-based violence during their lifetime. This includes the more than 12 million girls who are married before the age of 18 each year—a practice that puts girls at higher risk of HIV, violence, and even death (World Health Organization).

According to UNESCO estimates, around the world, 129 million girls are out of school, including 32 million of primary school age, and 97 million of secondary school age.

“We're in a crisis now in education, and it's important we act urgently post-pandemic...another issue we're seeing is a gender digital divide, many girls are skipping out on school because they don't have access to technology.” - youth ambassador Yande Banda gives her remarks at NPR interview about girls' access to education at the opening ceremony of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris.

Despite all the challenges, girls, young women, and non-binary youth have been at the forefront of many of the world’s most influential social justice movements often prompting unprecedented progress. Today’s young activists are digital natives using tech as an instrument to power change and create digital spaces to collectively organize, advocate, educate, and lead transformational change.

How Our Partners Are Supporting Girls’ Rights

BoMoVu focuses on promoting bodily rights in Turkey. Right to access sports, right to movement, physical integrity, fighting ethnic and gender-based discrimination, and empowering communities to access education, work, and social connections. The group uses sports to address intersectional issues such as girls' rights, racism, LGBT+ rights, and more.

In Honduras, The Red Pledge Initiative (RPI)’s community-based services and campaigns support girls and women's rights through fighting against period stigma, period poverty, and menstrual product taxation. RPI provides menstrual and supplementary products, as well as education and information on feminine health care, to underserved women and girls in communities across Antigua and Barbuda.

Moving in Feminism with Adolescent Leaders in Action (MIFALI) is a new and growing collective that is using social media to raise awareness of the injustices girls in Cameroon and fighting for a seat at the table in conversations about meaningful youth engagement, their rights and lives.

Girls are increasingly visible in feminist movements, they are the leaders today, pushing solutions in innovative ways that are truly intersectional and intergenerational and will carry bold movements forward for decades to come.