International Girl Child Day

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    Context

    • Every year on 11th October the International Child Day is observed.

    About the Day

    • 11th October 2022 commemorates the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl (IDG). 
    • The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995, proposed an action plan to advance the rights of girls.
    • In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare 11th October as the International Day of the Girl Child.
    • Theme of 2022: ‘Our time is now—our rights, our future.’
    • Positive impact: In the last 10 years, there has been increased attention and provision of opportunities on girls’ specific issues amongst governments, policymakers and the general public. 

    Status of Girl Child in India

    As per the “Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India Report 2021” by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB):

    • West Bengal and Odisha feature in the list of top five states along with Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh accounting for close to half of the total crimes committed against children (47. 1 %) across the country. 
    •  In a large country like India, many cases of crimes against children go unrecorded, especially in remote areas. Hence, the actual number may be much higher than those reported.  
    • Vulnerability of children is increasing in the post-pandemic era, despite the efforts and initiatives to strengthen child protection in the states. 
    • Grim Picture of Eastern States: Sikkim has the highest rate of sexual offences against children followed by Kerala, Meghalaya, Haryana and Mizoram.

    Challenges faced by women and girls

    • Lack of sensitization on behalf of police personnel
    • Investments in girl’s rights remain limited. 
    • Lack of time bound investigation of the reported cases
    • Adequate laws, inadequate implementation
    • Female infanticide and Sex-selective Abortions
    • Meta-son preference driven gender stereotyping and discrimination
    • Lack of education and awareness about women’s rights and legal grievance redressal mechanisms
    • Human trafficking and forced prostitution with the lure of jobs
    • Online Abuse and harassment-like rape threats, online harassment, cyber-stalking, blackmail, trolling etc.
    • Sexual harassment at workplace and glass ceiling.
    • Girls’ challenges in fulfilling their potential are worsened by concurrent crises of climate change, COVID-19 and humanitarian conflict. 

    Measures Taken

    • Global:
    • 1995 World Conference on Women adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action for advancing the rights of the women and the girls
    • The Spotlight Initiative of UN and EU to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG).
    • 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is also in tune with the Spotlight initiative to ensure centrality of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
    • India:
    • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
    • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
    • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
    • Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2018 based “Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences” to monitor and track time-bound investigation in sexual assault cases 
    • National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO) to facilitate investigation and tracking of sexual offenders across India by law enforcement agencies

    Way Forward 

    • Despite adversity, the world’s 600 million adolescent girls have shown that given the skills and the opportunities, they can be the changemakers driving progress in their communities, building back stronger for all, including women, boys and men.
    • Further, boosting community-based child protection mechanisms such as village-level child protection committees can play a critical role.
    • Urgent measures should be taken to strengthen the country’s child protection system and make the police, judicial and legal systems more proactive. 
    • Government should formulate an Information Education and Communication (IEC) strategy on laws, mechanisms, schemes and best practices for the protection and welfare of women and children.

    Source: TH