September 27, 2021 | 6:00 p.m.
MANILA, Philippines – Girl-led activism in the Asia-Pacific region has become a necessary force for gender equality, according to a report by a global aid and development organization.
âGirls and young women across the Asia-Pacific region are participating in youth activism for gender equality,â says Plan International’s 2021 Girls in Asia-Pacific report.
âSuch efforts have proven successful in changing long-held discriminatory gender attitudes and beliefs and ensuring that girls are better able to make their voices heard and develop their leadership capacities. “
The Young Women’s Leadership Report is a follow-up and extension of a precedent first published in 2020 that included research from 19 countries in South and Southeast Asia.
The 2021 iteration now covers 33 countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
It is also divided into these two parts:
In its assessment of the first, the report concludes that âyoung women are mobilizing in spaces both invited and claimed at local, national and supranational levels to address different forms of power, promote their messages and facilitate connectionsâ.
âWithin these different spaces, [they] use various approaches to develop their civic engagement movements, lead their own initiatives, raise awareness, mobilize young people and influence public opinion.
Social media, other essential ‘enabling factors’ for girls’ civic engagement
The researchers also highlighted that digital technologies and social media are key components of girls’ successful civic engagement.
“Girls and young women are using digital technologies to (1) mobilize online campaigns for transformative gender change, (2) discuss gender equality and social inclusion through accessible digital platforms and (3) raise awareness and broaden awareness through social networking sites, âthey said. noted.
Support from champions within institutions and policy-making spaces, family and friends and the use of a rights-based approach among organizations working with children were also identified as enabling factors. civic engagement of girls.
Girls’ leadership indices
To measure leadership opportunities for girls, the researchers used the Girls Leadership Indices, one for Asia and one for the Pacific, which takes into account six different ‘core areas’ to’ provide valuable insight into circumstances that girls and young women have faced over the past two years. “
These core areas are education, health, economic opportunity, protection, political voice and representation, and law and policy.
The index used in the Pacific also takes into account an additional area of ââclimate change, which the organization identified as “a major concern in the region which exacerbates existing vulnerabilities for women”.
The report notes that the climate area could also be added to future updates of the Asia Girls’ Leadership Index.
The Asia index reveals that 12 of the 19 countries have improved; The Philippines in the top 3
The 2021 Girls Leadership Index in Asia found that 12 of 19 countries covered in South and Southeast Asia have “improved their values” compared to data in its 2020 report.
Four countries deteriorated while three remain unchanged.
The Philippines also received the third highest index score (0.715), behind Thailand (0.733) and Singapore (0.784) which scored the highest.
Although the Philippines was in the top three in the rankings, it was one of three countries that have remained unchanged since 2019, when data was collected for the 2020 report.
While securing a top spot in law and policy, the Philippines was ranked 13th in health.
Pakistan (0.392), Afghanistan (0.405) and Brunei Darussalam (0.462) ranked lowest overall.
Pacific Index: Australia highest overall, Nauru leading climate change
On the Pacific Index, which includes a total of 14 countries, the top three countries are Australia (0.854), New Zealand (0.820) and Kiribati (0.643).
The three lowest ranked countries are Papua New Guinea (0.436), Marshall Islands (0.482) and Solomon Islands (0.529).
Nauru ranked first in climate change, behind New Zealand and then Palau. – Bella Perez Rubio