Wed, Aug 22, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Civic group urges nation to establish annual ‘Girls’ Day’

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan should embrace a UN campaign and set up a “Girls’ Day” to recognize the role of girls and raise the country’s human rights portfolio, a local civic group said yesterday.

The struggles young girls face are often ignored in Taiwan because of the absence of welfare policies that address their needs, said the Garden of Hope Foundation, which is dedicated to helping disadvantaged women.

“The fact that it’s hard to categorize young girls as either children or women has made them vulnerable because few channels have been created to offer help,” foundation executive director Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容) said.

Consequently, Chi said, the foundation has been working with lawmakers and other non-governmental organization to push for a “Girls Day” in Taiwan to raise public awareness of girls’ rights.

The challenges for girls nowadays go beyond the traditional problems of violence or economic disparities, Chi said, and have extended to more profound gender bias.

A common obsession among girls that they need to lose weight, for example, represents how culturally imposed standards of beauty have harmed their development, Chi said.

The foundation’s efforts are also aimed at improving the country’s human rights record after the UN adopted a resolution in December last year to declare Oct. 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child.

According to the UN, an annual girls’ rights day “would help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”

Chi said the foundation is offering workshops targeted at girls between the ages of aged 12 and 18 to help empower them and will submit its “Girls’ Day” petition to the legislature next month.

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