Education is not only a fundamental human right, but a promise: it is key to unlocking a girl’s full
potential and that of the world around her. Girls who complete primary and secondary education are more likely to earn a greater income over their lifetimes, to have fewer unwanted pregnancies, to marry later, and to break cycles of poverty within families and communities around them. Yet, 66 million girls around the globe are missing out on an education.
The newly launched A Girl’s Right to Learn Without Fear: Working to End Gender-Based Violence at School report focuses on an important barrier to girls’ education worldwide and in Canada: gender-based violence in and around schools.
What is school-related gender-based violence?
Between 500 million and 1.5 billion children experience violence every year, many in the institutions that we trust most to protect and nurture our children: schools.
The term “School-related gender-based violence” means exactly what it sounds like. Acts of violence (sexual, physical, or psychological) that happen to kids in and around school, because of their gender.
In most societies, adults have more power than children, and males have more power than females. As a result, girls in school are especially vulnerable to violence from teachers, staff, and peers.
Also vulnerable are boys and girls who do not conform to dominant notions of heterosexual masculinity or femininity.
This violence is unjustifiable and preventable. While the causes are complex, the impact cannot be ignored. Girls who experience gender-based violence at school face lower academic achievement and economic security, as well as greater long-term health risks. Like violence at home or in the community, school-based violence perpetuates and reinforces cycles of violence for generations to come.
The report & the launch
The A Girl’s Right to Learn Without Fear report is a joint initiative between Plan Canada and the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.
On December 4, Plan Canada and the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Program launched the report on Parliament Hill in Ottawa with key partner organizations, Canadian Women’s Foundation, Native Women’s Association of Canada and White Ribbon Campaign.
In addition to pointing out the prevalence of gender-based violence in and around schools both globally and in Canada, the report also offers constructive recommendations to combat this violence. Included are specific recommendations for the Canadian government that are consistent with recent observations on Canada made by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
We’ll be talking more about these suggestions, and what you can do to support them, in the coming months.
[button size=”small” color=”pink” style=”none” new_window=”false” link=”http://becauseiamagirl.ca/Page.aspx?pid=5120″]Read the report[/button]
Have you ever experienced or witnessed any type of gender-based violence at your school?