International Women’s Day 2024: What do young people think about girls’ rights around the world?

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Nearly 60% of young respondents said they feel that girls are discriminated against in their countries

All adolescent girls have rights, but many face obstacles in accessing those rights. How do young people see their situation and how would they promote their rights? 

From November 2023 through January 2024, UNICEF asked young people in a U-Report poll about girls’ rights in their countries and their views on what actions global leaders should prioritize to achieve change. This poll was created with the help of UNICEF’s Global Girl Leaders Advisory Group and, following their advice, it reached young people from all genders. 

Over six weeks, nearly 590,000 U-Reporters responded and shared their opinions about the state of girls’ rights in their countries, and their priorities for better protecting and promoting girls’ rights in the future. 

Here are some of the key results from the poll. 

 

Discrimination against girls 

  • When asked if they felt girls were discriminated against in their country, nearly 60 percent of respondents said they do. 

  • When asked if they believe that if girls see something wrong, they can report it to an authority and be believed, over 40 per cent of U-Reporters disagreed or were unsure. In Latin America and the Caribbean and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, around 60 percent of U-Reporters do not agree or are unsure that girls can report something wrong to an authority and be believed.  

 
Making decisions about their bodies 

U-Reporters' top priorities when it comes to empowering girls to make decisions about their bodies are education on the body and educating parents on girls’ rights. In Africa, almost 75 percent of U-Reporters in Africa prioritize education on the body and educating parents on girls’ rights.  From puberty and menstruation to HIV and child marriage, girls, boys and parents alike should have access to accurate information to keep safe and well. 

 

Financial security & economic empowerment 

U-Reporters' top priorities regarding girls’ finances are learning to make good choices, earning money, and money for family. Girls are left behind in financial literacy education, but it is an essential skill. Whether in school, vocational training centres, safe spaces or through an app at home, girls deserve access to info and skills to have power over their future .  
 

 

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Stand up for girls' rights!

If you were a government leader with one billion dollars to spend on girls' rights, how would you spend it?

 

In the U-Report poll, we asked young people how they would spend one billion dollars to promote girls' rights. These are some of their answers. 
 

  • “I would work to ensure that girls have access to sexual and reproductive health services. I would work to promote gender education to reduce discrimination and violence against girls. In the long term, I would try to change the laws and culture that oppress them, to ensure that everyone has a free and dignified life. I would also try to support the work done by non-governmental organizations that support girls and help them create local projects that have a positive impact on girls and their community.” – Female U-Reporter, 17, Bolivia. 

  • “I would invest in ending gender-based violence, fund campaigns that advocate girls’ rights and give them proper access to medical care and education. I would fund menstrual programmes and make rape illegal.” – Female U-Reporter, 16, Bangladesh. 

  • “As a government leader with one billion dollars to spend on girls’ rights, I would: 1) Allocate a significant portion to improve and expand educational opportunities for girls; 2) invest in health care programmes addressing girls’ specific needs; 3)invest in legal advocacy; and 4) Invest in technology driven solutions to bridge educational and economic gaps and foster innovation and inclusion for girls in digital age.” – Female U-Reporter, 18, Rwanda. 

  • “I would invest a significant portion of the funds in improving access to quality education for girls, including building schools, providing scholarships, and training teachers. Education is crucial for empowering girls and breaking the cycle of poverty.” –  Female U-Reporter, 15, Madagascar. 

  • “Ensuring universal access to quality health services for women and girls, including indigenous women and women with disabilities, would be my priority.” – U-Reporter, Female, 18, Nigeria. 

  • “The starting point would be to teach girls independence, that they have a voice, the right to decide what to do with their lives, and to give them the tools to build their future and that of their loved ones.” – U-Reporter, Female, 18, Guatemala. 

  • “Investing in awareness campaigns to address cultural barriers and promote gender equality is crucial.” – Male U-Reporter, 24, Uganda. 

  • “If I were the head of government and I had a billion dollars to devote to girls' rights, I would make sure to invest in education for all girls. I would put in place quality education programmes, accessible to all, to allow girls to have the same opportunities as boys. I would also support initiatives to combat early marriage, promote the health and well-being of girls, and strengthen their participation in society. It is important to empower girls to realize their full potential and create a better future for themselves and their communities. 💪💕” – Female U-Reporter, female, 17, Niger. 

  • “I would invest most of it in education, healthcare, and gender equality because I believe that education is the most effective way to change people's mindsets about girls' rights.” – Male U-Reporter, 16, Vietnam.  

 


 

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