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Suvi Halttula, Plan: Let’s make invisible girls visible

Suvi Halttula | 21.11.2017

20 November is the United Nations’ Universal Children’s Day, celebrated to increase awareness of children’s status and the importance of children's welfare across the world. We at the children’s rights organisation Plan want to shine the spotlight on girls in particular.

All children, regardless of place, age, race, ethnicity or gender, should have equal opportunities for a good and safe life and a future. However, girls are at a disadvantage when it comes to opportunities and exercising their rights. Girls are more likely to suffer from malnutrition, drop out of school, encounter violence, be forced into early marriage or be victims of child trafficking. In large crowds of immigrants or refugees, girls tend to be the most vulnerable of all people, especially if they get separated from their parents or family. One reason for all this is the fact that girls are invisible: they are not acknowledged as a separate group.

Unfortunately, girls are often invisible also when it comes to international statistics. If we want to achieve real, sustainable improvements for girls, statistics must reflect their unique circumstances. Plan has joined forces with eight other parties to form the Equal Measures 2030 partnership, which wants to make every girl and woman in the world visible, also in statistics. By combining collected data and experience and using them as a tool for influencing and action, the partnership strives to ensure that we can meet Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality) by year 2030.

We are very happy to be currently working together with Kesko in Thailand as part of a larger program, which has led to improvements in the status, social safety nets and education opportunities of Cambodian migrants and their families. We have also enforced sustainability and human rights awareness among fishing industry suppliers in Thailand. Girls and young women have been a key focus area for us also in this project, as we want to make sure they will not be invisible. The collaboration is a good example of how companies can take extra steps in their operations and sustainability work to take those who are the most vulnerable into account when planning and evaluating their activities.

Suvi Halttula, Senior Corporate Partnership Manager, Plan International Finland

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