More than one million children are being trafficked annually and forced into prostitution, according to the United Nations.
The UN is highlighting the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the world to mark the International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October 2015.
Marking this significant day, the Council for Australian Catholic Women prepared a parish resource that includes a parish bulletin notice, a suggested petition for the general intercessions and links to online resources.
The United Nations’ International Day of the Girl Child promotes girls’ human rights and highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys. The facts are alarming:
• Over 60 million girls worldwide are forced into marriage before the age of 18 years
• 125 million girls worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting
• 1.2 million children are being trafficked each year – many of these children are girls forced into sex trafficking
• Pregnancy is the leading cause of death worldwide for women aged 15 to 19 years
• Literacy rates for girls in many countries remain low – just 12% of Afghan women aged 15 years and over are literate
Addressing this issue, Bishop Peter Ingham, Bishop Delegate to the Council for Australian Catholic Women said, ‘As a community of faith we have a responsibility to ensure that the rights of the girl child are upheld as much as those of boys. The equal dignity and worth of all human beings is a value that we see throughout the gospels in the way Jesus treated women and girls.
In the Gospel of Mark (5: 41) for example we see Jesus raising up a little girl from the dead. ‘Talitha kum’ Jesus says, ‘Little girl, rise up’. We know that when we raise up girls and give them the same opportunities as their brothers, whole communities are transformed’.
The Council for Australian Catholic Women exists at the ‘national level to ensure that the dignity of women is honoured and their gifts are given space to flourish for the sake of the Church’s life and mission’ (ACBC Social Justice Statement 2000). The Council provides advice to the Bishops Commission for Church Ministry (BCCM) about women and their participation in the Catholic Church in Australia.
Additional information & parish resources:http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/
Further information about the Council: www.opw.catholic.org.au