[Brussels, 11 October 2021] For today’s International Day of the Girl-Child, EWL wants to shed light on one of the main goals of our work: the empowerment and uplifting of girls.
This year more than ever, as we witness the achievements of all the amazing girls out there who are changing the world for the better, we would like to reiterate our commitment to advocate for girls’ rights and concretely contribute to their empowerment through our initiatives.
There are millions of girls who came together as leaders for the climate from Fridays for Future school protests, Extinction Rebellion marches, and who are working for their and others’ rights in the women’s and other equality movements. Girls are taking over and we love it!
Within our own movement, EWL is firmly committed to the empowerment and uplifting of girls and young women. We host our Agora young feminist summer schools, our members run national Agoras, we run engagement opportunities to build young women’s participation throughout our membership, and celebrate all the girls’ and youth movements within our membership: WAGGGS, the YWCA Europe, Radical Girlsss to name but a few.
At the same time, we acknowledge that there’s still a long way to go to ensure equal opportunities, wellbeing and human rights protection for all girls.
We believe firmly that all girls should be able to live lives free from all forms of violence, both online and offline. We hope the upcoming Directive on combatting and preventing all forms of violence against women and girls will be a huge step forward in ensuring all girls, no matter where they live, are protected from violence, discrimination and exploitation. We recognise that the average age of entry into prostitution is just 14 years old, with many girls being forced into situations of rape and violence from as young as 10 or 11. For this purpose, our Her Future is Equal campaign recently sought to foster concrete changes to the law to tackle prostitution and all forms of sexual exploitation.
We also hope that all countries will soon realise effective and comprehensive sexuality and relationship education across Europe. We set out our Feminist Principles in Sexuality Education to provide educators and Member States with a roadmap to what truly effective, inclusive, preventative education practices should look like and are working with our members to see this come to reality.
At EWL we want all girls to feel the benefit of our work, even those too often excluded from policy considerations. Our #GirlsVoices infosheet describes some key steps that need to happen in European migration, asylum and refugee law and policy to ensure those at the intersection of women’s, migrants’ and children’s rights see their needs fully met in all contexts.
Finally we want to ensure that as girls grow into young women, they will enter a workforce ready to support their needs, in an economic model that recognises care as the driving force for our societies. Our Purple Pact sets out our vision for how we can shift our economic systems to drive for a more humane approach to social planning.
When we come together we can realise change across the world: we will continue fighting for girls’ rights and equal opportunities and stand beside all girls out there who are using their voices to make a more Feminist Europe tomorrow’s reality!