Men need to do to support women in their fight for gender equality, an international development agency has said
October 11th is International Day of the Girl Child in which the hopes, dreams and achievements of young women and girls are celebrated.
Plan International Ireland has released a report to mark the day, ‘Turning the World Around: Girl and young women activists leading the fight for equality’ which found many young women face huge hostility when campaigning for a better world.
Happy International Day of the Girl 🎉. This year, we’re standing with girl activists in all their diversity around the world 💪🌍.
Visit https://t.co/zhnJqIXruL to see how you can help raise girls' voices until we are all equal.#IDG2023 #UntilWeAreAllEqual #GenderEquality pic.twitter.com/5H102ruPS5
— Plan International Ireland (@PlanIreland) October 11, 2023
Speaking to Breakfast Briefing, Plan International Ireland CEO Paul O’Brien said men should help change by changing their behaviour.
“Men need to take a good look in the mirror and see their role in this as well and see how they behave,” he said.
“Sometimes men, particularly in groups, the way they behave towards girls in [a way that] might be good fun and banter in some aspects, it’s not and it can be very intimidating.
“So, I think there’s actually a huge onus on us men to stand up for girls and support them in their activism, to support them to try and bring about this gender equality.
“Really, as a society, we’re not fulfilling ourselves if this doesn’t happen.”
An unequal world
In comparison to men, women across the world are still at disproportionate risk of violence, paid less and carry out a far larger amount of domestic labour.
Mr O’Brien said Ireland has made “great progress” in recent years but noted there is far from “equal participation” in politics - with women accounting for less than a quarter of TDs elected in 2020.
Many of those who were interviewed for the 'Turning the World Around' report were involved in activism to improve women’s lives and while some said it was a “great pleasure”, others said there had been serious and negative repercussions.
“It was bringing a huge toll on their own personal mental health and sometimes it was creating problems within their families and communities that they were involved in activism,” Mr O’Brien said.
“So, there were pluses and minuses and that was really what we found in the report.”
Main image: A father and daughter on the beach. Picture by: Alamy.com