The State of the Nation’s Girls: Rising
MANILA, Philippines - On October 11, the world celebrated International Day of the Girl. And while many may think the status of young girls in the country is satisfactory, “more help is needed to uplift the situation of children in the Philippines because of widespread poverty - especially in rural areas - and social inequality,” said global children’s organization Plan International.
In a recent press conference, Intel, Plan International, and the Asian Development Bank shared the results of a study by the Women and Gender Institute (WAGI) of Miriam College on the national situation of girls in the Philippines and their lack of access to education.
At the same time, a preview was also held for the film, “Girl Rising,” directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins. The film follows 9 girls from 9 countries struggling for an education, and features narrations by Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Selena Gomez, Liam Neeson, Priyanka Chopra, Chloe Moretz, Salma Hayek, Alicia Keys, Freida Pinto, Kerry Washington, and Meryl Streep.
Watch the trailer of 'Girl Rising' here:
The State of Girls
According to Shireen Lateef, ADB’s senior adviser for gender, while most developing countries in Asia and the Pacific have seen positive signs in primary education enrollment rates in the last decade, “daunting challenges remain as the gender gap, especially in secondary education, is still very large.”
Below are some of the findings of the WAGI study:
- Poverty and social inequality create a disabling environment in the observance of the rights of the girl child.
- Data of child labor indicate that girl children often work as household helpers usually at age 15 to 17.
- While the right to education is cognized by girl children, they displayed ambivalence toward their right to play, the right to their opinion, and the right to be free from child labor and child abuse.
- New forms of commercial sexual exploitation have emerged as parents of children as young as 3 years old initiate them into child pornography.
Because of these results, they believe that advocacies and campaigns like “Girl Rising” need to be deepened and shared with more people to let them see and realize how education can help fight gender inequality, promote the rights of young girls, and lift them out of poverty.
Everything goes back to access to education. “We’ve seen the inspiring transformation that happens to girls and their communities when they are empowered through education,” said Calum Chisholm, country manager of Intel Philippines. "Here in the Philippines, Intel is hard at work to promote the vital message of ‘Girl Rising’ by partnering with various organizations that help spread the word to the grassroots girl child, their parents, and their neighbors."
Watch a preview of 'Girl Rising' here:
Peter Imbong is a full-time freelance writer, sometimes a stylist, and on some strange nights, a host. After starting his career in a business magazine, he now writes about lifestyle, entertainment, fashion, and profiles of different personalities. Check out his blog, Peter Tries to Write.