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Each For Equal why gender equality is an issue we cant ignore

#EachforEqual: why gender equality is an issue we can’t ignore

Despite significant progress, girls globally are still growing up facing deep-rooted inequalities

This Sunday is International Women’s Day – a global day marking the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. 

We work with countless trailblazing girls and young women around the world, so it’s a day we love to celebrate. 

But in recognising remarkable women, we also have to recognise the odds that are stacked against them and the distance we still have to go – in the UK and globally – to achieve gender equality.

Rachel, 15, from Northern Ireland

‘We're getting a lot less pay’

“The biggest challenge I have being a girl in Northern Ireland would be pay gaps. I've always wanted to be a dentist. And then I looked up statistics recently and turns out that there is a giant pay gap this year alone between male and female dentists.

“Despite the fact that the majority of the people going into local universities are female for dentistry, we're getting a lot less pay.”

Rachel, 15, Northern Ireland

Two girls smile together

‘The contract was cut short because I am female’

“There are a lot of biases on what a woman should or can be. A lot of people including men and woman have discouraged me. They think that because I am a woman, I should stay at home to care for my family.

“I got a contract to consult for a firm but when I told them I was preparing to get married, the contract was cut short because I am female. They said women’s careers don’t flourish especially after marriage.”

Gift (right, with her sister Loveth), 25, Nigeria

A girl looks at the camera

‘I skipped school’

"I was ashamed every time I had my period. I didn't know how to use a pad so I used a scarf instead so others would not notice.

"I skipped school. My family didn't notice anything.

"Now we have somewhere to change pads and wash ourselves. My friends and I go to school every time we have our periods.”

Pheang, 17, Cambodia

A girl sits on a bed
©Kate Holt / Plan International

'The biggest problem is forced marriage'

“I think the biggest problem facing girls in South Sudan is forced marriage. To overcome this, girls must be allowed to continue their studies.

“Even though my family was not struggling with food or money, they still wanted to sell me. I have two younger sisters and they are both studying now, but they may one day face the same challenges as me. I hope that my father will not give up and carry on supporting my education.”

Monica, 18, South Sudan

A girl sits on a bed with a book on her lap

‘I am repeatedly advised to give up’

“I want to be lawyer, but I am reminded by others on a daily basis that I won’t last in the big tough world of judiciary dominated by men. I am repeatedly advised to give up.

“I refuse to bow down. The only way for girls to gain an identity is to stand on their own two feet. I tell all my friends that family and society will stop you, but don’t let that hold you back. You live in a democracy and you have equal rights. Don’t suffer injustice and speak up for yourself.”

Ruby, 18, India

A girl leans on a ledge

‘Marriage was the only way’

“When I came to the [refugee] camp I was staying with my grandma. I have two brothers. I’m the eldest. I was supposed to go to school, but now I am married I am home. I have a child, he is a boy called Geevan.

“I want to go to school. At the time, marriage was the only way, but now I’ve realised that going back to school is the best way. Because when you study, you can help yourself.

"I would tell a girl arriving in the camp now that getting education is the best thing.”

Jackline, 19, South Sudanese refugee in Uganda

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