International Day of the Girl Child: Tackling Girls’ Issues Within the Arab World

Girls are a driving force in society and lay the groundwork for gender equality throughout the world. They are community leaders who bring about change. Today is the International Day of the Girl Child, a day in which the world recognize the difficulties that girls experience, and in this case, we look at girls within the Arab world. International Day of the Girl raises awareness about the challenges that girls face at a young age, and calls for more action and investments in order to help them achieve their full potential.

Challenges for young girls throughout the Middle East

Government enact laws to protect both genders and to support their social growth. Nonetheless, there are always various loopholes that may serve as a disadvantage for one of the two genders. With the exception of a few nations in the Middle East, the legal age for marriage is 18. However, other laws, on the other hand, could essentially nullify the provision. This allows children to marry if it is deemed to be in their best interests, which further serves as a vital issue globally. Due to unequal power dynamics, girls who marry at a young age are more likely to face violence, abuse, and forced sexual intercourse.  

Other disadvantages

Based on an article titled The Protection of Young Women and Girls in the Middle East and Northern Africa published by Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, the Middle Eastern region ranks low on the Global Gender Index, scoring poorly on a variety of indicators including health, education, economic and political participation. Furthermore, violence towards young girls has increased during the lockdown, according to a previous study conducted by Plan International (a leading girls’ rights organization). The study found that since the start of the lockdown measures implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19, violence towards young girls in several Middle Eastern countries increased.

With billions of females in the world today ready to take on the future, the International Day of the Girl Child seeks not only to address such issues on a particular day, but to be observed and tackled daily. Every day, girls break down barriers to address issues such as child marriage, educational inequity, violence, climate justice, and unequal access to healthcare. Thus, girls continue to undoubtedly demonstrate their power and influence.

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