JEDDAH: The OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission has called on governments to intensify their efforts to promote and protect young girls against vulnerabilities on International Day of the Girl Child.
Poverty has been a major challenge experienced by girls who are forced to enter the informal job market, which has led to increased cases of violence and other harmful practices, the IPHRC said on Tuesday.
The coronavirus pandemic has threatened to worsen these vulnerabilities. School closures exacerbate gender inequality, since girls are less likely to return to schools than boys, it added.
While the pandemic has accelerated digital platforms for learning, earning, and connecting, some 2.2 billion people under 25 still do not have Internet access at home, which is stopping hundreds of millions of children from returning to classes, the commission said.
The global Internet user gender gap has also expanded, from 11 percent in 2013 to 17 percent in 2019, with the widest margin in the least developed countries.
The commission said that these realities negatively affect gender equity and digital literacy, which are crucial drivers of economic growth and business competitiveness.
It “urged all Member States to reassess their national policies to efficiently address the challenges and opportunities girls face in different fields, especially those related to addressing the gender digital gap.”
The IPHRC said that when it comes to recovery efforts, governments must understand that empowering girls by ensuring access to education and health services must remain a priority. This will determine the socio-economic wellbeing and stability of their respective societies in the long term, it added.
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