[Brussels, 06 November 2012] Investing in the girl child’s education has long been recognised as pivotal for her future but also for the benefit of society as a whole. However, girls’ education is still not a priority in many parts of the world. The 1999 International Labour Organisation’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, is unfortunately still actual in its request for member states to protect girl children from child labour. Nowadays, in fact, 88 million girl children are exploited for labour around the world. Pactices such as child labour and child marriage are blatant denials of children’s rights, undermining their development.
Gender inequalities that take root at an early age tend to produce long-term gender inequality, which is in turns reproduced at work. Girl children enter the labour force very early, thus ending up with low education, low pay and the most insecure jobs. Illiteracy affects 64% of adult women. Women working at home, moreover, remain simply invisible in statistics and in society in general.
Education, starting with a quality basic education for all, is essential for the effective abolition of child labour and a fundamental step in creating better prospects for decent work in adulthood and in generating social and economic progress. In its statement of 11 October, the ILO’s Director-General recalled that, in this period of persisting global economic crisis, a firm re-commitment to the goals of social progress and social justice is necessary: the aim is to shape “a world where the girl child can find her rightful place, on an equal footing with boys, at home and in school and can be well-prepared for entry, at the right time, to the world of work”.
You can find ILO Director-General, Guy Rider’s, speech here