Plan International/Saikat Mojumder
From magazine covers to real life -- girls are still discriminated against. The reality is that young girls face more adversity than others due to their age coupled with their gender, making them one of the most vulnerable groups in the world.
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There is one critical issue that has been omitted from the SDGs -- the issue of addressing menstrual health and hygiene. Menstruation affects half of the global population. It is a topic that all women and girls are intimately familiar with and yet it is so rarely talked about on the global stage.
Plan International/Seydou Dolo
This year, the World Health Organization is calling on the global community to "end malaria for good" by lowering the global malaria burden over the next 15 years, and reducing malaria death rates by at least 90%. We still have a long way to go, but the end of the malaria epidemic may finally be in sight, and could even be achieved within our lifetime.
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Rather than close the Global Affairs Canada's Office of Religious Freedom, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion should seize the opportunity to transform it into a real force for change for all excluded minorities in developing countries.
Simon Kuzents, the economist who developed the GDP measurement, warned it was not a good meter stick for national well-being. Still, that's exactly how the GDP has been used globally since the 1940s. GDP is the total value of all the goods and services a country produces in a year. So, creating jobs and producing equipment to clean up an oil spill, for example, adds to the GDP. As does producing guns and bombs for war. GDP is blind to factors like unemployment, living conditions and environmental degradation. Make sense? Not really. Whether it's genuine progress, national happiness, or a system that blends the best of both, the global community must agree on a more holistic way to measure our nations' progress that doesn't just count the money we make.
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Over the next 15 years, the international community will be guided by 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) integrating the three broad pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental well-being. Universal in nature, this means the SDGs will go beyond guiding the international cooperation efforts of high-income countries and emerging economies, to encouraging Canada to determine how it will address its own sustainable development challenges domestically.
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The World Bank's ambitious goal to end poverty by 2030 requires large transformations in the global political economy so everyone has a chance for a better life. According to World Bank President, Jim Kim, defeating poverty requires a surmounting push from $131 billion dedicated to development, to a trillion dollars.
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Over the next decade, more than one-billion women will join the work force. This is great news for GDP, which will increase significantly as a result. So why is entrepreneurship well suited to women and therefore key to global development?
When hundreds of girls are kidnapped in Nigeria, disappearing into the night for months and counting, the world is outraged. When boys are handed guns and forced into militias, the world is shocked. When children work as slave labourers in mines, there are global cries for action. But these atrocities are only part of the picture.
The international community struggles with the challenge of serving the world's poor in an urban environment. In this struggle, Plan turned its attention to one of the most vulnerable groups in poor urban centres -- young girls.
While "Giving Tuesday" hasn't fully migrated north to Canada, the idea behind it is appealing. With all the ads and other reminders to shop and give at this time of year, I think it's worth stepping back for a moment to consider how and why we give and also the far-reaching results certain gifts can generate.
On October 11, 2012 the world marked the first-ever International Day of the Girl. The celebration was bittersweet, though, given it occurred against the backdrop of worldwide shock and headlines concerning 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a young activist from Pakistan, shot in the head by a Taliban member because of her ongoing work and advocacy to ensure more girls get to go to school.
This fall, we released a report from this study called, Hopes and Dreams, which provides a detailed look into the girls' lives at the tender age of five. There was good news: the majority of the girls in our study have parents who have high aspirations for them and who promote gender equality in their households.