Thursday, April 16, 2009

Parliamentarians Call for Action on Adolescent Girls' Rights

From April 5th-10th, 2009 more than 600 parliamentarians from over 100 different countries met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to attend the 120th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). Their primary goal was to discuss parliament's role in promoting global peace and security, democracy, and development, with special attention given to the importance of investing in adolescent girls in developing nations.

Last week, parliamentarians addressed the issue of the current global financial crisis, and looked to the importance of investing in young girls as a critical strategy to repairing economies. Adolescent girls in developing countries are often overlooked as fundamental components of a society's progression. However, as both economic actors and future mothers, the importance of investing in young girls' safety, health, and education is crucial to creating a stable society with high levels of growth. At the present moment, less than half a cent of every single international development dollar is spent on adolescent girls, greatly inhibiting their development into empowered young women, able to escape poverty and ignite progress.

In order to counterbalance gender-based inequality, Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, President of the IPU, discussed the importance of “addressing discrimination and promoting the well-being and empowerment of adolescent girls" as both a human right and a core component of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.” Parliamentarians at the 120th Assembly focused on three key points in ensuring the improvement of adolescent girl's well being: investing in girls' education, promoting an end to violence against girls in all settings, and working with both governments and the private sector to build life skills for young women, ensuring that they make a smooth transition from school to work. By focusing on such initiatives, adolescent girls as well as society as a whole will progress and grow.

During the meeting in Addis Ababa, members of paliament (MPs) had the opportunity to see for themselves the importance of investing in such proposals. By visiting UNICEF supported initiatives, MP's were quickly able to see the importance of such programs.

It is the PPD ARO's hope that this realization will prompt MPs to implement similar programs in their countries to promote adolescent girls' empowerment. More than 600 million young girls' live in the developing world today, and it is crucial that the international community continues to address issues of gender inequality and appropriates actions to be taken.

To access the 120th Assembly's agenda, please visit:

To learn more about UNICEF's role in working with the IPU, visit:

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