Statement from the Official Opposition for the International Day of the Girl Child

The NDP’s Critic for the Status of Women, Niki Ashton (Churchill), and the NDP Critic for International Development, Hélène Laverdière (Laurier – Sainte-Marie), made the following statement for the International Day of the Girl Child.

“Two years ago the United Nations declared October 11th the International Day of the Girl Child, in order to focus attention on the particular needs and challenges that girls encounter. This year, the UN has placed special focus on the empowerment of girls through education.

Education is a human right and yet, in every country, we can be doing more to ensure girls are receiving the safe and equitable education to which they are entitled.

In Canada, First Nations schools continue to be underfunded by the Conservative government. Without a good education Indigenous girls find that their choices in life are severely limited. Let us use this day to call for action on behalf of Indigenous girls.

Internationally, Canada must play a stronger role to ensure that girls and young women are free to exercise their human rights.

As Canada works to end child, early and forced marriage, we must ensure that our approach deals with related issues including education, gender equality, violence against women, full sexual and reproductive rights, and poverty.

New Democrats recognize that the empowerment of girls and women is central to the development and well-being of society as a whole and look forward to a time when all girls can freely enjoy their right to a happy childhood.”