The Condition of the Girl Child Worldwide

Authored by: Laura Silvia Battaglia, Rossella Panuzzo, Ilaria Sesana

Categories: Global Public Health, Human Rights
Sub-Categories: Climate and Environment, Democratization and Political Participation, Economic Participation, Economic Recovery, Human Development, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health
Region: No Region
Year: 2020
Citation: Battaglia, Laura Silvia et al. "The Condition of the Girl Child Worldwide." Terre des Hommes Italia. October 2020.

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Executive Summary

Violence against women and girl children is a grave violation of human rights and a form of discrimination. This is a global problem existing in every region and in different settings including online or in, around and on the way to school. Female genital mutilation (FGM) continues to impact millions girls and women around the world and is often precursor to child, early and forced marriage. Years of global actions to combat FGM had a positive outcome at the start of 2020 but we know that at least 200 million girls and women have been mutilated in the 31 countries that provided this data..

The Coronavirus pandemic is putting more and more girl children at risk of both early marriages and genital mutilation, and is disrupting global efforts to end both practices. Another 13 million girls could be forced to get married and 2 million may undergo FGM over the next decade.

Girls are still too often deprived of their rights such as the fundamental right to manage one’s body and consent to sexual Intercourse. Worldwide, it is estimated that at least 15 million girls (aged 15 to 19) have experienced forced sexual intercourse or other types of sexual abuses at some point in their lives.

The World Economic Forum’s latest Global Gender Gap Report (2020) states that gender parity is still a long way away, so much so that it would take just under 100 years to attain it worldwide.

This year the “indifesa” Dossier addresses the global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on girl children’s rights, based on the views of girl children gathered across the regions. There is already a worrying rise in abuse, forced marriages, school dropouts, cyberbullying, online sexual violence and female genital mutilation and the Coronavirus pandemic is putting more and more girls at risk. This report offers a significant insight into these realities, not to be alarmist, but to try and trigger a strong, coherent and innovative response from the EU, governments and society.