International Day of the Girl Child Conference brings together supporters of “Empowered Girls, Empowered Futures
The second International Day of the Girl Child Conference with the theme “Empowered Girls, Empowered Futures” was held in Istanbul hosted by the Aydın Doğan Foundation in cooperation with the United Nations system in Turkey.
The conference which took place on the “International Day of the Girl Child”, marked every year on 11 October called for commitment to prevent discrimination against girls. It highlighted the issues that girls in Turkey are facing in the field of education and underline the difference that education can make in their lives.
Speaking at the opening of the Conference, organized with cooperation of Aydın Doğan Foundation, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and the United Nations Results Group on Gender Equality , UN in Turkey Residen Coordinator Kamal Malhotra said that the progression of girls in a society amounted to the progression of society.
Malhotra said investment in women and girls’ education was the key to success, noting that providing the right to equal education for girls would also lead to a better future.
“With the SDGs in mind, the global theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl Child is: “Girls’ Progress Equals (=) Goals’ Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement”. Indeed, to make the needs and challenges of women and girls visible we need gender sensitive data. Otherwise, the needs and challenges faced by different groups can easily be hidden behind nameless and faceless “averages”. To understand the challenges girls face, whether in times of peace or during conflict and emergency situations, we need detailed information; we need girl-focused and girl-relevant data; and we need to use this data to seek solutions and track progress. Using accurate data to address challenges girls face can lead to significant progress on all the Sustainable Development Goals, but especially Goal 4 on education and Goal 5 on gender equality” said Malhotra.
UNICEF Turkey Representative Philippe Duamelle said it was very important for girls to securely shift to adulthood and live a productive and satisfactory life.
Aydın Doğan Foundation President Hanzade Doğan Boyner drew attention to illiterate woman and underage marriages, urging communities to protect girls, stop violence against them, and prevent the deprivation of their fundamental right to education.
Leading names from Turkey and the world joined International Day of the Girl Child Conference to discuss the empowerment of girls while drawing attention to the importance of gender equality and education. The conference hosted featured guests including British journalist Lesly Abdela known for her works on Women Rights and Representation in more than 40 countries; CNN International anchor Becky Anderson who frequently focuses on women’s issues in her programs; Richard Rowe, former deputy dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, who is a leading expert on the empowerment of children, families, and societies recognized both in his country and in the world; Monica Singh who has been a global symbol for violence against women after being the victim of an acid attack, Betty Makoni, Zimbabwean gender activist and the founder of the Girl Child Network helping young victims of sexual abuse in her country; the UN Women Youth Champion Tennille Amor known with her song “I’m a Girl” promoting gender equality; and UNICEF in Turkey’s National Ambassador Tuba Büyüküstün.
The International Day of the Girl Child Conference included a main panel entitled “Looking Ahead to 2030: Sustainable Development Goals and Girls Empowerment” and several other panels, which addressed critical topics such as “child marriage” and “refugee girls”. The panel reserved for private sector representatives focused on success stories of companies who have carried out projects on the subject.