Research and Initiatives
The Unicef reports that 65 million girl-children worldwide are out of school.The State of the World’s Children 2007 examines the discrimination and disempowerment women face throughout their lives – and outlines what must be done to eliminate gender discrimination and empower women and girls.
It looks at the status of women today, discusses how gender equality will move all the Millennium Development Goals forward, and shows how investment in women’s rights will ultimately produce a double dividend: advancing the rights of both women and children.
The UN also has several key branches with their efforts dedicated particularly towards the welfare of the girl child. One of the most prominent is The UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), launched in April 2000, at the World Education Forum in Dakar, by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Its goal is to narrow the gender gap in primary and secondary education by 2005 and to ensure that by 2015, all children complete primary schooling, with girls and boys having equal access to all levels of education.Click here to Read More
Adding on, The Women’s UN Report Program & Network (WUNRN) is a non-governmental organization to implement the conclusions and recommendations of a United Nations Study on Freedom of Religion of Belief and the Status of Women From the Viewpoint of Religion and Traditions.
Similarly, The Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) is a network of Gender Focal Points in United Nations offices, specialized agencies, funds and programmes.
The Meena’s World!
Meena, a cartoon character that was later to become a role model, was launched by UNICEF South Asia in 1998 as a 13-part animation series broadcast by both private and public channels such as Doordarshan and All India radio. The story goes that when Meena could not go to school because her parents would not let her, she persuaded her male friend, Mitu, to teach her the basic math and language skills that he learns everyday at school. Meena practices her new skills by counting her father’s chickens.
One day, she notices that a chicken is missing and when she sees a thief running off with it, she alerts her father. The chicken is retrieved, the thief is apprehended and Meena becomes the village hero. When passers-by learn how Meena has saved the day, they rave about the benefits of sending girls to school. The series is also used as a teaching aid in schools across the region. It has further taken on a huge range of subjects: equal food portions for boys and girls; first-aid for babies with diarrhea; everyday sanitary habits; how to keep girls in school; microcredit for women; resisting dowry demands or child marriage; restraining school bullies; and providing health care for girls and women.
UNICEF would like every Indian girl (and boy) to act like Meena. But Meena is not a real girl, she’s an animated character and Mitu is her trusted sidekick – a gender-conscious parrot who sits comfortably perched on Meena’s shoulder, forever looking out for his beloved owner.