Making Girl’s Health Matter

WHO 2011 Poster

WHO 2011 Poster

Here in Canada, it’s easy to say that health is a human right and not a privilege. But as we mark World Health Day 2011 on April 7, it’s time to consider the part we all play in supporting health and development beyond our own borders.

Take for example the fact that while women in Canada generally live six years longer than men, when you look more globally, unequal access to information, care and basic health practices increase the health risks for women. As the World Health Organization points out, there are 10 key areas that have serious consequences for women’s health.

For example, recent aggressive tobacco marketing campaigns aimed at women means that tobacco use among younger females in developing countries is rising rapidly. Every day, 1,600 women and more than 10,000 newborns die from preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth. And, gender discrimination leaves women more vulnerable to physical and sexual violence, sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, malaria and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Changing these grim facts is imperative – and possible. Together with 10 million girls worldwide, Canadian Girl Guides join other members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) in speaking out on girls’ and women’s health issues. Through non-formal education programs, international calls to action, direct lobbying and community work, girls and young women in Guiding are mobilizing to call for equal access to health services for girls and an end to violence against girls.

And that’s why Girl Guides of Canada is pleased to support Plan Canada’s call on the Canadian government to declare September 22 as Day of the Girl, to move us one step closer to eliminating barriers to equal rights for millions of girls worldwide.

After all, when you empower girls to understand and assert their rights, you create a powerful force for changing the lives of girls everywhere.

By Mary, GGC staff

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