Popular television personality, Zoe Naylor, has joined leading Sydney designer Genevieve Er and successful Australian business identities to celebrate the global launch of the most comprehensive report ever published on girls’ economic empowerment from leading international development agency Plan.
Backed by Graca Machel, Nelson Mandela’s wife and a powerful advocate for women’s rights, along with other high-profile Australian personalities including popular radio presenter Kate Langbroek, the third installment of Plan’s annual Because I am a Girl series argues that investing in girls is one of the best ways to end poverty and create global prosperity – an investment that is currently blocked in many countries around the world by persistent attitudes that girls are not as important as boys.
In addition to the report launch, Sydney designer Genevieve Er revealed an eye-catching bespoke T-shirt inspired by the Because I am a Girl campaign and to be sold online at www.becauseiamagirl.com.au to raise vital funds for BIAG projects. The unique T-shirt design features an iconic anchor motif, which represents the campaign setting sail to secure hope for girls and young women around the world.
According to the detailed report findings, some of the immediate impacts of the global financial crisis on girls around the world include:
1. An estimated 50,000 extra African babies will die before their first birthday this year. Most will be girls.
2. Young women, millions of whom are employed in the informal and export-related sectors, are the first to lose their jobs. More than 60% of female workers in developing countries are in informal employment. Losing jobs will impact the ability of these young women to feed their children, send them to school and access healthcare – and in difficult times boys often get access to these resources before girls.
3. Remittances (money sent home by workers abroad) are falling, impacting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of many countries. At least half of all international migrants are women and they send millions of dollars in remittances back to their homes and families. Increased unemployment results in decreased remittances, which ultimately impacts the wellbeing of children, and a country’s GDP.
4. Girls are being pulled out of education and into domestic and other work, including child labour. Cuts in national education budgets and a decline in remittances of migrant workers, which often help to keep children in school, could increase the number of children working. Recent global estimates indicate that more than 100 million girls are involved in child labour.
Ian Wishart, Plan in Australia’s Chief Executive, says the global financial crisis provides an opportunity to address the causes of poverty. “Investing in girls yields real returns even to the poorest countries. Girls are uniquely placed to break intergenerational cycles of poverty whilst supporting economies, growth and global prosperity,” said Mr Wishart.
“Now is the time to ensure that a new course is set in which investment in girls and young women becomes a priority. It is time for governments, businesses, civil society organisations and the families of girls and young women around the world to commit to take action, invest in good policy and practice change.”
Plan’s high-profile supporters are calling on Australians and Australian businesses to lend their support to Plan’s high-profile Because I am a Girl campaign by visiting a dedicated website – becauseiamagirl.com.au – to help to bring worldwide attention to the need for greater investment in girls to help end generational poverty cycles.
To lend your support, visit www.becauseiamagirl.com.au and:
1. Be part of a passionate online community united to fight for girls’ rights and help them break the cycles of poverty in their communities.
2. Learn – By reading the Because I Am Girl reports.
3. Spread the word – share the message with a friend.
4. Donate – give to Plan’s GirlsFund to support Plan projects that are making a difference for girls and their communities around the world (gender equity and empowering girls/women are fundamental principles of all Plan projects).
5. Get your business involved.
For more information on Because I am a Girl and Plan visit www.becauseiamagirl.com.au or call 13 PLAN (13 7526)