Stop the violence against girls

Violence against girls has serious and life-altering impacts on their physical and mental wellbeing. It happens everywhere: on the street, at school, at home and in digital spaces.

COVID-19 highlighted existing and new vulnerabilities that girls and young women face because of deep-rooted inequalities, traditional gender roles and victim-blaming attitudes.

This results in impunity for perpetrators and contributes to the continuing epidemic of violence against women and girls.

It's time to end it, for once and for all.

  1. ADOPT, strengthen, and crucially, enforce laws and policies on gender-based violence, including harassment in public spaces, schools, and workplaces. Do not allow perpetrators to walk away with impunity.
  2. INCREASE investment in local and national services to support girls and women suffering gender-based violence. Promote these services and invest in violence-reporting, specifically by strengthening cyber laws and online harassment reporting schemes.
  3. INTEGRATE gender-based violence prevention and gender equality education into school curriculums, working with local leaders and communities to raise awareness and condemn violence. Legislation alone is not enough.
Body Position

Girls' self-esteem and body confidence is paramount

No girl or young woman should be held back by worries about the way she looks.

Low self-esteem and body confidence issues disproportionately affect girls and young women, and are mainly caused by unhelpful gender norms. Isolation during the pandemic has increased loneliness among girls and exacerbated these issues.

Body-confident girls feel free to be themselves, to follow their dreams and make a difference in the world.

Their self-esteem should always be a priority so all girls can fulfil their potential.

  1. INTEGRATE body confidence and self-esteem education in formal and non-formal education spaces to empower girls and young women to challenge appearance-based discrimination, leading to a world where all bodies are equally valued.
  2. INTRODUCE stronger legislation in the media and fashion industry to reduce the promotion of unobtainable body ideals and increase representation of diverse women and girls with a broad range of healthy body types.
  3. PROVIDE life-saving support services to girls and young women suffering from low self-esteem, loneliness, depression and eating disorders. This includes mental health services, both online and offline, and youth-centred guidance for wellbeing practices at home.

COVID-19 disproportionate impact on girls

Today’s generation of young women will be disproportionately affected by the long-lasting consequences of COVID-19.

Isolation, mental health challenges, unequal access to nutrition and education, and the struggle to get menstrual hygiene products are some of the problems girls and young women currently face.

Their needs must be considered, and their experiences put at the heart of both short and long-term solutions to the health and societal impacts of COVID-19.

  1. FUND and scale-up youth-driven solutions and services focused on girls and young women to ensure their capacity to support them in a new COVID-19 landscape.
  2. CLASSIFY menstrual products as essential items and provide them free, including pain relief, so girls and young women can access them without barriers during and after lockdown.
  3. CONSULT and engage girls and women in all COVID-19 response planning and decision making, through both online and offline mechanisms.

Girls are key to fight against climate change

Girls are the hardest hit by climate change due to pre-existing inequalities and unbalanced power dynamics. Particularly in less economically developed countries, they are the most likely to experience adverse effects in agriculture, natural disasters and climate-induced migrations.

Despite this, girls are often excluded from the wider discourse around climate change. They want to change that and play a leading role in the biggest environmental challenges so far.

Let’s put girls at the very centre of climate action.

  1. FUND youth programmes that empower girls and young women to take action on environmental issues affecting them, providing the tools and resources to scale their advocacy efforts and community projects.
  2. INTEGRATE environmental education in both formal and non-formal settings, including topics such as waste management, plastic pollution, upcycling and recycling solutions.
  3. MEET AND STRENGTHEN the commitments under the Paris Agreement. Invest in local mitigation plans so girls are equipped to cope with weather-related disaster as a result of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Nothing about girls without girls

Girls are the experts of their own lives.

To achieve women’s effective participation and equal opportunity for leadership at all levels of decision-making, girls need to be given the tools, spaces and confidence to speak out about what it's important to them.

They are the ones who are best placed to tell governments and leaders what needs to change in their communities, countries, and the world.

Girls deserve to be seen and heard.

  1. CREATE stronger mechanisms for girls to meaningfully participate in decision-making spaces. Ensure accountability, avoid tokenism and expand civil society participation so that girls can speak out and advocate for their rights.
  2. RECOGNISE girls' agency and consult them in the design of all national and local programmes, legal frameworks and policies.
  3. INCREASE funding of non-formal education programmes, and support youth organisations working on girl-led advocacy and leadership. This is pivotal if we are to increase female representation in leadership and build a better world.