International Day of the Girl – today and every day

By:Courtenay Holden, Marketing and Communications, Our Children's Vision

Can a family, community, or economy truly thrive when half of the population is unable to reach their full potential?

Unfortunately, many girls throughout the world continue to be denied the same human rights as their male counterparts. As a result, millions of girls are getting left behind - unable to fully access health care and education.

We need clever, innovative solutions for the obstacles women and girls face when accessing eye care services. Because right now;

  • of the estimated 32.4 million people around the world who are blind1 - almost two-thirds of them are women and girls.2 
  • women are 40% less likely to utilize eye care services than men,3
  • women’s medical needs are deprioritised,
  • in some parts of the world, if girls are blind or significantly vision impaired it is almost impossible for them to access education.4

Vision impairment, along with a myriad of other factors, can be one of the barriers girls and women face when trying to access an education.  

We know that better educated women tend to be healthier, participate more in the labour market, earn higher incomes, have fewer children, marry at a later age, and enable better health care and education for their children. All these factors combined can help lift households out of poverty.5

When up to 75% of vision impairment is preventable or treatable, and eye care is one of the simplest and most cost-effective health interventions there is - failing to find sustainable solutions to eye care accessibility for all women and girls is simply not acceptable.

We need to build strong partnerships, to speak with a united voice, to lobby decision makers, influence policy…shout from the mountain tops that a child’s gender should not determine their access to health, education or future opportunity.

Join us – we are devoted to changing this reality so all girls enjoy the same eye health opportunities, regardless of their geographical location, religion or economic status. We can’t remove all the barriers girls face when accessing education, but we can remove at least one.

Our Children’s Vision seeks to partner with organisations who promote and practice gender equity in all of their programs.


References

  1. WHO, ‘Visual impairment and blindness’, in Fact sheet N°282. August 2014, Viewed 19 September 2016, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/
  2. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/68885/1/a85574.pdf
  3. Unite for Sight, ‘Accessing medical care: Unique barriers for women’, in Community Eye Health Course: Module 3. 2015, viewed 19 September 2016, http://www.uniteforsight.org/community-eye-health-course/module2b
  4. Ibid.
  5. World Bank http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/girlseducation/overview#1

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