It’s critical to enable an environment that promotes economic justice for women from early in life. Failure to address the economic violence that manifests in girlhood will have lasting effects throughout women’s and girls’ lives.
It’s 8 March 2017, International Women’s Day. As my colleague David beautifully said: “It’s a day to remember that women are not treated equally to men across the world. It’s a reminder that women worldwide are exposed to shocking abuse from sexual violence and female genital mutilation, to forced early marriage and deprivation of their most basic rights.
Globally, there are 600 million adolescent girls in developing countries who face challenges to education and health services and too often face persistent discrimination and violence. They frequently have limited opportunities to gain the education, knowledge, resources, and skills that can lead to economic advancement.
Social isolation, economic vulnerability, and lack of access to health care and education prevent healthy transitions from childhood to adulthood, especially for vulnerable adolescent girls in developing countries. In Zambia, poor girls often are at high risk of gender-based violence, unintended pregnancy, and HIV. Many drop out of school, are unable to find employment, lack the ability to make independent decisions, and are not being reached by existing programs for young people.
Adolescent girls face a multitude of hazards during their transition from childhood to adulthood ranging from school dropout, to child marriage, to adolescent childbearing, to physical and mental health problems, to gender based violence. In response to these risks, there has been an increase in the number and types of interventions targeting adolescent girls in low-and middle-income countries.
Young people today make up the largest youth population in history. Their successes and struggles are as diverse as their personalities and aspirations.
However, in all corners of the globe, this generation faces a common challenge: persistent youth unemployment. Left unaddressed, the consequences reverberate across our cities. When young people don’t see or have a sustainable economic path, our families and communities also suffer. In fact, the futures of cities are intrinsically tied to the economic success of young people.
The Global Inclusion Awards 2017, a CYFI initiative, recognise and honour those that achieve greatness and demonstrate innovation in financial, social and livelihoods education, financial inclusion, and entrepreneurial support for children and youth at the national, regional and international level.
The Employment and Entrepreneurship sub-program under Prospects Liberia provides young entrepreneurs, aged 18 to 35 years, business skills training and the opportunity to apply for a microgrant (USD 250 to USD 750) to start up or expand a business through a Youth Investment Fund. Data captured throughout the program indicates that significantly more women than men seek and receive the small business grants. Given this information, the Prospects team sought to understand what motivates young women to pursue entrepreneurship.
A Working Future and a new era of collaboration - Taking cross-sector partnerships beyond philanthropy
Plan International's A Working Future youth economic empowerment programme has proven that partnerships between the development and corporate sectors can successfully address social issues and generate commercial value. This kind of cross-sector collaboration with its potential to effectively address social issues while creating value for both society and business will play a key role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.