I have always been a proud supporter of measures to protect the rights of women and girls internationally and, I must say, the Department for International Development is currently doing some excellent work in this respect. Specifically, DFID’s priorities are to promote girls’ education, tackle violence against women and girls, campaign against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and combat early and forced marriage.
Since 2010, the Department has already helped more than 5 million girls go to school, given 7.9 million women access to modern family planning methods and secured land and property rights for 2.4 million women. In the past 3 years, the number of DFID programmes addressing violence against women and girls has increased by 63% to 109 programmes in total, including DFID’s £35 million programme aimed at tackling FGM, which is the largest of any single country. It also includes a £36 million proramme to end Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM) which helps thousands of girls to take control over their own lives.
With regards to the future, the UK Government was one of the first to push for a stand-alone gender goal within the UN Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals outcome document and I am confident it will continue this work at an international level. Indeed, the International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, recently reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to push, at every opportunity, for a strong and explicit commitment to end violence against women and girls in the Sustainable Development Goals that will be agreed later this year.
The Government publishes a newsletter on its work to tackle violence against women and girls, which you can view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/454847/VAWG_Newsletter_Summer_2015.pdf