Our Challenge Is to Give Our Girls a Better Chance for a Future

By Serena Jiwani

October 20, 2016

Today, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released a new report called “10: How Our Future Depends on a Girl at this Decisive Age.” It’s about 10-year-old girls – their hopes, their dreams, and some of the unique challenges they face.

Reading the report makes me think of my cousin. She’s 18 years old. She just graduated from high school and started university, teaches dance to younger girls, and is one of the most confident, opinionated, poised young adults I know. She brings an unmatched positive energy and sense of humor into every room she walks into.

She grew up with an incredible support system – through encouraging teachers at school, her loving family, and her dance community.

Unfortunately, many girls don’t grow up with this same support. Entering adolescence can be a difficult time, with changing hormones and different societal expectations for girls and boys.

In many places around the world, 10 year old girls are forced to marry. Many also don’t get to finish their education – there are 62 million girls around the world who are not in school today. It may also be just a few years until she gets pregnant because of a lack of proper sexuality education at school and at home. This could lead to a future where girls grow up without a chance to pursue their dreams and live life on their own terms.

Through the new report, UNFPA tells us that this harmful future for 10 year old girls is unacceptable. The true test of the Sustainable Development Goals is how the world looks for girls and young women in 2030. Are they thriving, happy, and supported while they pursue their goals relentlessly, just like my cousin?

If the world looks different for girls in 2030, we know we’ve done something right.

Join us in getting there.

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