It is now five years ago that global leaders committed to the empowerment of girls as a key priority in the United Nations Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. This week, as the world is celebrating the International Day of the Girl, leverist.de and GIZ projects around the world share how development cooperation and companies can go hand in hand to advance girls’ rights.
Why is it important to support girls’ rights?
“Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” reads the fifth out of 17 sustainable development goals of the Agenda 2030. And it is a crucial goal: The Global Gender Gap Report 2020 by the World Economic Forum estimates that it will still take 99,5 years for the global gender gap to close. Girls worldwide experience gender-based violence and limitations in economic and social opportunities due to discriminatory laws and norms. However, girls’ rights are not only important to realize human rights, female empowerment also is impactful in strengthening economic prospects: According to Plan International, connecting 600 million more women to the internet in 3 years would translate to a rise in global GDP of between US$13 billion and US$18 billion.
Empowerment as a business case?
Much work needs to be done, by development cooperation, but also by companies: “The private sector has a vital role to play in tackling harmful gender norms. It is only when they work together with civil society, governments and the media to address gender norms that truly transformative change will occur.”, states Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, Chief Executive of Plan International.
But how exactly can businesses support gender equality? Entrepreneurs can contribute to girls’ empowerment by designing and distributing affordable hygienic products. They can create digital services to ensure financial inclusion. In Rwanda, for example, the platform MY MONEY enables female refugees to share their business plans with financial providers who link them to financing opportunities.
Businesses can also promote female role models, for example in sports: In Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenia and Namibia, the Programme "Sport for Development in Africa" of Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is looking for companies to campaign for the importance of sports to the youth. By creating opportunities to participate in sports, companies can enhance health, well-being and agency of girls.
Opportunities for girls' empowerment on leverist.de
There are many more cases, where companies are needed to support development efforts in strengthening girls’ rights and opportunities. In Sri Lanka, companies are needed to train young people in software programming, including Java, PHP and UI/UX design to empower teenagers, specifically girls. In Rwanda, GIZ is looking for development partners and companies to scale-up an app that enhances young parents’ knowledge on nutrition for their children, benefiting the well-being of boys and girls, likewise.
Connect now to make a difference!
If your company is offering products and services for enhancing girls’ rights and opportunities, you can connect directly with development experts on these opportunities or register for upcoming opportunities. If you want to learn more about GIZ’s gender projects, you can read them up here.
We have ten more years to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. At the current speed of progress, we will need much more than ten years to achieve this goal. By joining forces, development cooperation and companies can accelerate the speed to achieve goal five – and improve the lives of many girls around the globe.