UNFPA's flagship report makes the case that investing in 10-year-old girls could yield huge demographic dividend, pump billions into national economies
The State of World Population (SWOP) 2016 Report titled “10: How our future depends on a girl at this decisive age” was launched in Ashgabat on 14 December at the National Museum of Fine Arts. The Vernissage of the Photo exhibition followed the Report Launch, featuring the teenage girls from all parts of Turkmenistan, their dreams and aspirations.
The Report was presented at the ceremony, which was attended by the Turkmen national partners, representatives of the UN agencies and international organizations, the diplomatic corps, university professors and students, as well as the civil society and national and international mass media. The report was also launched globally in more than 100 countries.
UNFPA’s flagship Report shows that the welfare of these girls will have a real impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were unanimously adopted at the United Nations last year.
“In many parts of the world, age 10 can be a time of exploration, rapidly expanding horizons and new possibilities,” said Ms. Bayramgul Garabayeva, UNFPA Assistant Representative, during her opening speech. “But it also can be a time when barriers start appearing on the path to adulthood, limiting options, choices and opportunities. This is especially true for girls.”
When a girl enjoys her rights, is able to stay in school, stay healthy and be protected from early pregnancy--her full potential may be realized by the time she reaches adulthood. She will be better equipped to find a job, earn a good wage and seize opportunities as they arise.
The new development agenda, endorsed by world leaders in 2015, is the blueprint for countries’ social and economic progress for 15 years. It aims for equitable development that leaves no one behind. Removing the barriers that hold 10-year-old girls back today will increase the chances that the agenda will be a success, the report argues.
During the SWOP Report Launch in Ashgabat, Mr. Saparmammet Meredov, Director of the National Museum of Fine Arts welcomed the guests of the event at the National Museum and expressed appreciation to UNFPA for the continued partnership with the museum. Ms. Sulgun Atayeva, UNFPA partner from the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, reiterated the importance and relevance of the topic. In her opening statement, she reaffirmed the commitment of the Government of Turkmenistan in expanding the youth-friendly services.
The key findings and recommendations of the Global Report were presented by Ms. Ene Tuyliyeva, UNFPA Advocacy Communication Associate. Ms. Tuyliyeva gave an overview of the global situation why the Report focuses on 10-year-olds, the challenges that the large population of girls face today, and the ways the governments, communities and families can support the girls to overcome those challenges. The Report at the end shares 10 essential actions for the 10-year-old girl.
The State of World Population report notes that of the 125 million 10-year-olds today, 60 million are girls who are systematically disadvantaged at the global level as they move through adolescence into adulthood. Girls are less likely than boys to complete formal schooling at the secondary and university levels, are more likely to be in poorer physical and mental health, and will find it harder to get paid jobs.
The range of proven policy options available to governments has grown over the past decade. These include banning harmful practices, such as child marriage and providing cash transfers to parents of girls in poor households to help defray costs of schooling, and, thus keep girls in school longer. They also include providing life-skills training and age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education to girls approaching puberty.
The Launch of the SWOP 2016 Report could not be held without the youth voices. Y-PEER volunteers, Youth Peer Education Network in Turkmenistan, a group of young leaders committed to promoting healthy living and gender equality among their peers, joined the Launch and spoke about the importance of investing in adolescent girls. Young presenters gave an overview of the Youth Policy Law and new opportunities it opens for Turkmen youth. The volunteers further presented the results of the campaigns and events held throughout the year at the Youth centers, schools and public places, featuring the youth voices. The issues of quality education and access to information, quality healthcare and working places for all, as well as the important issue of inclusive education were among the priority issues voiced by the Turkmen youth.
A film entitled “How do teenage girls in Eastern Europe and Central Asia see their future” was an inspirational addition to the event. Produced by the UNFPA Regional office in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the film featured teenage girls from the region talking about their dreams, aspirations, future plans and gender equality.
The Report Launch concluded with the Award Ceremony of the UNFPA Photo Competition 2016.Here, UNFPA recognized the finalists of the competition under two themes “Many dreams and aspirations of teenage girls: my biggest dream is…” and “I’m proud of my daughter!” The latter theme was led jointly with the UNFPA Tajikistan, and attempted to get a look at the issue of investing in girls through the father’s lens.
More than 85 photos have been submitted by young people, fathers and families together with the inspiring stories on dreams of the teenage girls in our country and the support the girls receive from their families and community.Twenty-three photos were selected as finalists and were awarded during the SWOP Report Launch in Ashgabat and presented at the Photo exhibition.
The Photo exhibition will run until Wednesday, 21 December 2016 at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Ashgabat.
For the full SWOP 2014 Report and other resources, please visit: www.unfpa.org/swp
UNFPA: Delivering the world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
For additional information, please contact:
Bayramgul Garabayeva, UNFPA Assistant Representative
Ene Tuyliyeva, Advocacy Communication Associate