This post was compiled by Haydn Welch, research associate in the Women and Foreign Policy program.
This past Sunday, people around the world celebrated the annual International Day of the Girl Child. We have compiled four publications written by the Women and Foreign Policy team that highlight the importance of human rights for girls, and the crucial role they play in securing a more peaceful and prosperous world for all.
In this report, Douglas Dillion Senior Fellow Rachel Vogelstein and Senior Fellow Meighan Stone write that girls’ access to STEM education, especially in developing countries, is a smart and necessary policy to help economies thrive. Additionally, investing in girls’ STEM education in developing countries will help close the economic gap between men and women, as girls will have greater digital fluency and be able work in higher-paying fields.
Despite the global decline in child marriage over the past twenty-five years, child marriage continues to be a worldwide epidemic, as twelve million girls get married each year. Douglas Dillion Senior Fellow Rachel Vogelstein and former Research Associate Alexandra Bro write that it is not enough to condemn child marriage abroad—the United States must eliminate child marriage in the United States, once and for all.
Armed and extremist groups around the world have taken advantage of the systemic inequalities girls face in conflict and humanitarian settings. By participating in the trafficking of girls, armed and extremist groups subject girls to forced labor, forced marriage, and sexual exploitation; girls can also be coerced into acting as combatants. Senior Fellow Jamille Bigio posits that greater investment in girls and the reduction of gender inequality will not only help protect human rights, but will also lead to a safer and more secure world.
Senior Fellow Jamille Bigio tells the story of Senait, a teenage girl who left her home in Ethiopia to avoid getting married to a man her father’s age. Senait instead set off for Kuwait to get a job, or so she thought—the smuggler she trusted actually brought her to Kenya, where she and eight other girls were confined to one room for an entire month. Senait was eventually able to return to Ethiopia, where she, and far too many adolescent girls, are not able to access the education they are entitled to.