18 October 2011
Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak to you
about Plan Canada's initiative, "Because I Am a Girl." This is a tremendous
Canada-wide campaign that aims to put an end to discrimination against girls
around the world.
The sad reality is that girls in the poorest areas of the world must overcome
extraordinary obstacles to survive and grow, simply because of their gender.
In the poorest countries, 50 per cent of girls do not go to secondary school.
Sixty-five million girls are denied a basic education. Girls are three times as
likely to be malnourished as boys. Pregnancy is the leading cause of death for
young women between the ages of 15 to 19 worldwide.
However, it has been proven that investing in the education of girls and
young women is essential in alleviating poverty, not only for the girls
themselves, but also for their communities, countries and the entire world.
The five-year campaign aims to engage one million Canadian girls and women as
part of a movement to raise funds and to raise awareness of the plight of
millions of girls in developing countries.
I congratulate the organizers of the campaign on their most recent success:
an online petition urging Canada to take the lead and propose a United Nations
resolution that will proclaim September 22 the International Day of the Girl.
An international day would create a foundation for advocacy to ensure that
girls get the investment and recognition they deserve as citizens and as
powerful agents of change. The United Nations General Assembly will examine
Canada's proposal this fall.
I congratulate the "Because I Am a Girl" campaign organizers on their
leadership, and I encourage Canadians to visit their website at:
www.becauseiamagirl.ca to learn how to join the movement.