10 October 2023
Halfway to the 2030 deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals, the world is failing girls.
On current trends, the end of child marriage is 300 years away. If nothing changes, by 2030, 110 million young women and girls who should be in classrooms, won’t be. And 340 million women and girls will still endure the grinding hardships of extreme poverty.
Old forms of discrimination against girls continue and in some cases are getting worse. Girls in Afghanistan are unable to exercise their most basic rights and freedoms, confined to their homes with no hope of education or economic independence.
New forms of bias and inequality are emerging. The digital divide means many girls are excluded from the online world. Algorithms based on the experience of men and boys are digitizing and amplifying sexism.
Yet around the world, girls are fighting back – confronting sexism, combatting stereotypes and creating change, on football pitches, in schools, and in the public square. We must stand with them.
My proposal for an SDG Stimulus to get the Goals on track is gaining traction. And we must invest in girls’ leadership – the theme of this year’s International Day of the Girl Child – to support girls to achieve their ambitions and to boost gender equality. When women and girls lead they can shift attitudes, create change, and advance policies and solutions that address their needs.
Women and girls can lead us to a fairer future. On this International Day of the Girl Child, let us amplify girls’ voices, and recommit to working together to build a world where every girl can lead and thrive.
"This year's International Day of Persons with Disabilities reminds us that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires living up to the promise to leave no one behind, especially the 1.3 billion persons with disabilities worldwide." — António Guterres
"World AIDS Day arrives at a defining moment.AIDS-related deaths have fallen by almost 70 per cent since their peak in 2004, and new HIV infections are at the lowest point since the 1980s." — António Guterres
"The Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare is a solemn occasion to pay tribute to those killed or injured by these horrific weapons." — António Guterres
Addressing crimes that affect the environment is key to mitigating and adapting to climate change, highlighted the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at the start of the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (COP 28).