On every October 11th, the world celebrates the International Day of the Girl, a day devoted to recognizing the importance of girl’s empowerment and education. Released in March of this year, the acclaimed film ‘Girl Rising,’ is directed by Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins and written by nine celebrated writers and narrated by nine renowned actresses. The film reminds us of how powerful a force for change and economic growth girl’s empowerment and education can be. The CIC-Toronto Branch is excited to be screening portions of this groundbreaking film and has prepared a reading list for the occasion that focuses on how gender equality is addressed by international organizations.
Our first reading is from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD). The Department explains that gender equality must be “systematically and explicitly integrated across all international development programs.” DFATD states that, unfortunately, “women continue to have fewer rights, lower education and health status, less income, and less access to resources and decision-making than men.” Gender equality is a priority for DFATD and highlights Canada’s role in some of the international community’s most important commitments to furthering women’s rights, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing platform for Action, the Millennium Development Goals and the United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution on Women Peace and Security. DFATD also features Canada’s action plan for the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, launched in October 2010.
The second reading is from the World Bank, which has “been promoting gender equality in development since 1977,” but there is a lot more work that needs to be done in this area. The World Development Report of 2012 was the first World Development Report to focus on gender equality and its relationship to economic development. The report underscored impressive accomplishments in gender equality, including in primary education. Unfortunately, many of these gains are nowhere near universal. Overall, progress has been slower than hoped for. Since 2012, the World Bank has donated billions and committed serious research efforts to gender-informed operations in areas such as health and education to continue to progress gender equality across the globe.
The final reading is from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The UNDP “focuses on gender equality not only as human rights, but also because they are a pathway to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and sustainable development.” Like the World Bank, the UNDP highlights the lack of decision-making potential that women have in many communities and countries. Nevertheless, the UNDP is devoted to overcoming this significant challenge.
Event Coordinator and Administrative Assistant – CIC Toronto Branch