The day, which focuses on highlighting unique challenges facing girls around the world while promoting their rights, was on the theme : “the relevance of data in tracking developmental progress”.
Making a presentation on “Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls”, Ms. Afua Ayiku, a 15-year-old student of the East Airport International School, said there was the need to intensify efforts to attain the United Nations (UNO) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) five, which aims at achieving gender equality by 2030.
According to her, the absence of substantial data (either being non-existent or insufficient), on girls’ lives impedes the attainability of the goals and makes it difficult to track progress on girls.
“We cannot increase the equality of girls if there is no record of factors that limit their opportunities. There is a gap in the gender data and girls have been victimised due to this. Until the data gap is closed, we cannot close the gender gap”, Ms Ayiku stated.
She entreated stakeholders to prioritise issues affecting girls as an efficient way of advancing national progress, saying, “there must be a unification of resources starting from the political will in government to private sector partners, non-governmental organisation, media and mere citizens”.
“We as girls must feel confident that stakeholders will fulfill their duties and implement a legal framework that guarantees data security and privacy. The most complete data set is however irrelevant if it is not used to inform decision making”, Ms. Ayiku said.
Mr. Prosper Nyavor, the National Programme Officer at UNESCO, Accra, said his outfit was working with the Ghana Statistical Service and the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) to define indicators that would be used to track issues affecting girls in all spheres in the country.
He said such a move would influence right decisions by stakeholders which specifically targets girl’s needs to ensure they realise their full potential.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin said, investments by every country must be driven and informed by high-quality data for maximum impact and results and to track progress.
“This is particularly important for identifying and tackling the needs of the most marginalised girls, those about whom we often know the least”, he maintained.
Dr. Osotimehin pledged the organisation’s commitment to support adolescent girls in the country to determine their desires and reach their full potentials.
By Abigail Annoh