Call to focus foreign aid on empowerment of young girls

Ahead of tomorrow’s International Day of the Girl, children’s rights charity Plan International is lobbying the Government to target more of Ireland’s foreign aid budget at empowering young girls.
Call to focus foreign aid on empowerment of young girls

“In a developing country, girls are the most excluded group of all and by focussing on getting girls into education and offering them an adult life beyond the domestic, they can effect enormous change in their own countries and communities,” said the chief executive of Plan International Ireland David Dalton.

As part of International Day of the Girl, Plan International is organising symbolic ‘takeovers’ by Étáin Sweeney Keogh, aged 18, of leading positions in Dublin.

These include the lord mayor’s office and a global director’s role at Google, and she will also join the management at

Étáin, from Fivemilebourne in Co Leitrim, sits on Plan International’s youth advisory panel and has been actively involved in human rights campaigning through her teens.

Also tomorrow, Plan International will launch its new data tracker for girls, as in developing countries, there is a dearth of statistics around girls’ participation in education, drop-out rates due to early marriage, teen pregnancy, safety, and sexual violence rates.

Mr Dalton added: “In the words of Melinda Gates, ‘We can’t close the gender gap without first closing the data gap’.

“Data is vital as it demonstrates the size and nature of social and economic problems, but a lack of data on girls means millions of girls are invisible.

“Once we gather this data, it can help us drive action that will help change girls’ lives.”

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