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31 March 2021 - News

The world must change for working girls: we want to study and have a decent life for our families

Thalia is a 16-year-old from Peru. Since childhood, she has learned the value of decent work and has been able to support her family, pay for her studies and aspire to study at university. She is a member of the Latin American and Caribbean Movement of Working Children and Adolescents (MOLACNATS). For 3 years now, she has been participating in political advocacy spaces, such as participatory budgeting in her community, but this year she took a great leap by bringing the voice of girls in the region to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. (CSW65).

During CSW65, Thalia participated in the session “CSW65: Girls Conversation Circle”, organized by The Working Group on Girls and UN Women, along with more than 100 girls and adolescents from all around the world. The objective of the dialogue was to amplify the voices of girls and increase their visibility in the Generation Equality forum, guaranteeing their leadership and participation in political processes at the local, national and global levels.

During the session, Thalia highlighted that States must protect the rights of working girls and adolescents and provide them with spaces for participation. She explained that the safety of girls and adolescents in their homes and in public spaces should be prioritized. Finally, she pointed out that public investment in the education of girls and adolescents should be increased.

Thalia was also able to raise her voice at the high-level event "Beyond the shadow pandemic: prevention and response to the risks and experiences of gender-based violence among adolescent girls", organized by Save the Children and the Refugee Women's Commission. In her speech, she spoke about the impact the pandemic has had on the lives of girls and adolescents: domestic, workplace and public violence; child marriage and early unions; barriers to accessing public services such as sexual and reproductive health; difficulty studying due to the lack of internet and technological equipment.

Thalia is a teenager who is not only aware of the problems that affect girls and adolescents, but also comes up with solutions from her perspective as a working child. “In the face of economic recovery, decent work must be guaranteed for children and adolescents, so we are safe from harassment and exploitation and also to guarantee equal payment, without making differences because we are girls and women. On the subject of education, access to the Internet and comprehensive sexual education with a gender focus in schools must be guaranteed”, she proposed.

Thalia was very proud and happy to participate and to represent the voice of the girls in both spaces. “I think it is important that girls participate in spaces like this so that adults and authorities can listen to us and know the reality from the point of view of working children. If they seek our good, they have to take us into account.”, She expressed.

“It seems to me that the participation in the event [the Commission on the Status of Women] of girls from all over the world in the event is truly important. I want to thank the organizations because the event has been very fruitful since it has gathered the experience of many girls. I take as a lesson that children's participation must continue”.