How are the Girls?
How are the Girls?
On December 7, 2022 at the UISG Headquarters in Rome as well as online, the presentation of the international research “How are the Girls?" took place. 155 people online joined the audience who filled the UISG's conference room to listen to the representatives of the organizations and congregations involved in developing the survey: Good Shepherd International Foundation Onlus, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd , VIDES Internazionale ONG, the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco, Fondazione Comboniane nel Mondo, Comboni Missionary Sisters, RNDM International Mission Development Office and Sisters of Notre Dame des Mission.
Sr. Patricia Murray, ibvm, welcoming the participants, said: “How are the girls shows us how is the future and how are we to respond. (…) Covid has impacted everybody, but especially young people: physically, emotionally, spiritually. This survey will point to future actions.”
The research was conducted in 6 countries: South Sudan, Kenya, Nepal, India, Ecuador and Peru. The quantitative research involved 3,443 adolescent girls aged between 10-20 years.
“We discovered that pre-existing inequalities just worsened” – said Mathilde Gutzenberger, Research Coordination Team member and Senior expert in Gender and Children Rights. During the pandemic 6 in 10 girls reported increase of domestic work, 1 in 6 had trouble accessing food and 60% report the increasing sense of worry and sadness. It also had the impact on education of young women: 2 in 4 girls had difficulties accessing the education, study finds.
“Covid brought a huge learning loss for adolescents in low and middle income countries. What the girls lived there is incomparable to what happened in the Western world – let’s take an example of India, where the schools were closed for 90 weeks in the past two years. Return to school is a great relief for the majority of girls.” – she continued.
How are the girls shows us how is the future and how are we to respond.
Maria D’Onofrio - Advocacy Officer IIMA & VIDES Human Rights Office, Geneva and Sr. Winifred Doherty - Main Representative to UN, Good Shepherd International Justice and Peace Office, New York, presented the result of the research from the perspective of the human rights.
“We heared today about the invisibility of girls, but the survey makes them finally visible." - said sr. Doherty.
“One of the advocacy solutions is to act on the national and local level. The change does not happen in the UN, it happens in the country where the affected people are.”
In order to face the challenges presented in the research, the networking and collaboration of the professionals coming from different backgrounds is essential, according to sr. Alessandra Smerilli, fma, Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Professor of Political Economy at the Pontifical Faculty, who joined the meeting online. She underlined the importance the research has for her Dicastery.
Among the identified future actions are: development of addictional protection awareness programs involving young girls and their families, support of the child health programs and improvement of the technology education system in order to provide appropriate capacity building.
Elisabetta Murgia, member of the Project Core Team and Program Manager VIDES in the words closing the event that the four congregations and involved organizations will continue to collaborate in order to adress the needs emerged from the study.
UISG Comunication Office
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