United Nations - International Day of the Girl Child (Oct. 11)
Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Agnès Von Der Mühll, French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs spokeswoman (Paris, October 11, 2018)
Gender equality is a priority for the five-year term of President Macron and the government. As such, France is mobilized in the multilateral forums to put an end to discrimination against girls and women, to all forms of gender violence and to the early marriage of children. It is also committed to promoting the empowerment of all women and girls and to promoting equal access to education, nutrition, justice and healthcare.
It raised these issues on September 25 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York at a high-level meeting on girls’ education that it co-hosted with the United Kingdom and Canada. Concrete commitments were made at this meeting to ensure that girls may fully take advantage of their right to an education – a fundamental right that contributes to social development, economic growth, and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On this International Day of the Girl Child, France reiterates its commitment to championing the fundamental rights of girls throughout the world.
Educating girls is a priority of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), which held its replenishment conference in Dakar this past February under the joint presidency of Senegal and France, which pledged to increase its contribution tenfold. The GPE assists partner countries, especially in Africa, with financing and implementing sectoral plans for education, taking into account the challenges of gender equality, and with such concrete measures as the establishment of infrastructures suited to welcoming girls in schools, training teachers and educational staff in preventing gender stereotypes, and including content on the equality between boys and girls in educational programs.
Educating girls is also one of our priorities with respect to our bilateral cooperation in the Sahel. France has allocated €15 million to efforts in Niger, where more than half of all girls currently do not finish primary school, contributing to that country’s new joint sectoral fund for education. The French Development Agency also launched a €10 million project for the period of 2017-2021 aimed at improving access to sexual and reproductive health and keeping girls in secondary school.
In 2019, France will publish its third national action plan on implementing the Women, Peace and Security agenda to combat sexual violence in armed conflicts. This cause is one of France’s priorities with regard to stepping up the protection of girls and women and doing a better job of including them in peace-building initiatives.
Even now, girls – because of their gender – have less access to education, to sufficient food, and to information on sexual and reproductive health, and all too many of them are not free to be in control of their own bodies and their own lives. The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege underscored the extent to which girls are a particular target of sexual violence in armed conflicts.