THE gaps between girls and boys remain unacceptably wide, says UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
In a message to mark the International Day of the Girl which fell yesterday, Guterres said adolescent girls were locked out of opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), not for lack of talent or ambition but because they are girls.
He said it does not have to be that way.
“Globally, the percentage of women among graduates in these subjects is below 15 per cent in over two-thirds of countries. This year, we mark the International Day of the Girl against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, and resurgent movements for social justice,” Guterres said. “As we strengthen the response to the pandemic and plan for a strong recovery, we have an opportunity to create a better, fairer, more equal world for girls everywhere. The best way to achieve this is by following the leadership of girls themselves.”
He said this year’s theme, “My Voice: Our Equal Future” calls on everyone to amplify the voices of adolescent girls, and put their needs at the forefront of laws, policies and practices in every country and community around the world.
Guterres said generation equality was the global campaign and calls to commit to working with and for girls, everywhere.
“We must support girls by giving them access to the tools they need to shape their own destinies. That includes the technological skills, connectivity and safety they need to thrive in a digital world. We can all draw inspiration from the adolescent girls who are taking the lead and shaping better lives for themselves – and for others,” said Guterres. “Teenage girls are the new leaders of our time, creating global movements for change. They are ready for the challenge. On his International Day of the Girl, let’s stand together with them and for them. It’s nourish their talents, amplify their voices and work together for a better, more equal future for us all.”