With tremendous progress made over the past two decades in improving the human development status of girls, the outcomes of such investment is becoming clear. Empowered and educated women live and engender healthier lives; contribute to growing economies; protect and develop communities; shift attitudes and break cycles of violence. The more years of education a woman has, the lower the fertility rate, while the less schooling she has, the more likely she is to be married by age 18. Following school, by ensuring that women work and are an integral part of the labour force, families are kept out of poverty and children are educated which, in turn, leads to economic growth.
Despite this knowledge, however, girls remain mired in poverty and exclusion, and this especially includes those subject to the most intractable social norms – preference for sons and for girl’s early marriage and resulting pregnancy, discrimination against girls in education and in the home, and the normalisation of violence – all being some of the hardest norms to shift. Accordingly the status of girls and young women has become high profile in development agendas and in the mainstream press.
The post 2015 agenda currently speaks of leaving no-one behind. This public meeting asks how the post 2015 agenda can tackle social norms in order to ensure millions of girls are not left behind. Speakers at this public event will reflect on the challenges and opportunities in changing the lives of even the most excluded girl child.
Ellen Wratten - Deputy Director of Policy Division, Department for International Development (DFID)
Tanya Barron - Chief Executive, Plan UK
Professor Grace Bantebya - School of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University, Uganda
Kevin Watkins - Executive Director, ODI
Lakshmi Sundaram - Global Coordinator, Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage
Caroline Harper - Head of Social Development Programme and Research Fellow, ODI
Jessica Woodroffe - Director, Gender and Development Network
More information available here.
Photo credit: ©FAO/Munir Uz Zaman