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The rights of today’s girls: the rights of tomorrow’s women

Resolution 1669 (2009)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 29 May 2009 (see Doc. 11910, report of the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, rapporteur: Mrs Circene). See also Recommendation 1872 (2009).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly is concerned about the disparities which still exist between girls and boys in Council of Europe member states, and indeed, in some cases, the regression of girls’ rights. The great progress in equal rights that has been made in many countries often hides de facto inequality, to the detriment of girls.
2. The Assembly is convinced that effective rights for today’s girls are a strength both for the rights of tomorrow’s women and for the population as a whole within an egalitarian and inclusive society.
3. The Assembly denounces the gender-based violence many girls are subjected to from an early age in Europe today: paedophilia, genital mutilation, as well as forced and child marriages are all on the rise. Even gender-based selective abortions, and, in rare cases, feminicide, are starting to appear on the European continent. This violence against girls is totally unacceptable.
4. The Assembly emphasises the need to eliminate all forms of discrimination against girls and to promote education in equality between women and men, without stereotyping and at all levels of the education system.
5. It notes the value to both girls and boys of a carefully thought-out, mixed-sex education.
6. The Assembly also feels it is important that household tasks and caregiving (for example, for younger siblings) are not disproportionately delegated to girls within a family. Girls need time for themselves, for their schoolwork, their hobbies and their personal development, and should be given the same amount of such time as boys. It is thus important to change the stereotypes that are still prevalent in society and which hinder girls’ personal development and success in later life.
7. The Assembly calls on the Council of Europe member states to:
7.1 ratify the 1979 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the amendment and protocol thereto, if they have not already done so;
7.2 guarantee access to education for all children, including girls, who are more frequently outside the school system than boys, if necessary by taking over the costs related to their schooling;
7.3 promote mixed-sex classes in schools, including in non-state schools, with a view to providing a carefully thought-out education based on the promotion of learning motivation and self-regulation, and focusing on the individual pupil in order to foster the development of his or her abilities;
7.4 promote education in human rights taking account of the principle of gender equality;
7.5 introduce education in sexual and reproductive health for both girls and boys with the aim, in particular, of protecting them from sexually transmitted diseases and teaching them respect for their partners;
7.6 take measures to speed up de jure and de facto equality in education while actively defending equal rights and equal opportunities for girls and boys, women and men, and equal treatment with due regard to their differences, whether they are pupils, students or teachers;
7.7 ensure a gender balance among schools’ teaching, administrative and managerial staff, as well as in pupil and student delegations to the bodies that run schools and universities; 
7.8 give priority to training the staff of educational institutions and childcare facilities in, and raising their awareness of, the promotion of equality between girls and boys and between women and men:
7.8.1 by training trainers in the promotion of equality between girls and boys and in non-violence;
7.8.2 by establishing gender equality training as a subject in its own right, with the same value as other pedagogical components of the training curriculum for new teachers;
7.8.3 by organising specialised training programmes throughout the teacher-training curriculum and during working life;
7.8.4 by raising awareness among guidance and vocational education staff of occupational gender stereotypes and equality issues;
7.8.5 by regularly evaluating teachers’ behaviour, which should not be sexist, during their professional activities;
7.8.6 by making teachers aware of the particular difficulties which can be experienced by young immigrant girls;
7.9 include, in curricula for boys and girls, educational and training activities designed to raise their awareness of gender equality and prepare them for the exercise of democratic citizenship;
7.10 include in curricula a component relating to the sharing of domestic and child-raising responsibilities;
7.11 revise teaching material and methods in such a way as to promote non-discriminatory language and non-sexist education;
7.12 make parents more aware of the personal worth of their children, in particular their daughters, within the context of positive parenting;
7.13 support parents in bringing up their children, in particular by setting up “parenting schools”, designed to aid and assist parents, including promoting equality between women and men, and girls and boys within families;
7.14 take steps to ensure that public and private funders of school and study grants respect the principle of gender balance when awarding grants;
7.15 promote sports activities for girls and boys, funding the different sports facilities in an equitable fashion and educating sports teachers in equality between girls and boys;
7.16 raise awareness among media professionals of gender equality and ensure fair and equitable representation of girls and women in the media;
7.17 rigorously fight all forms of gender-based violence against girls, in particular paedophilia, genital mutilation, forced and child marriages and feminicide, as well as gender-based selective abortions, in Europe and the whole world.
8. The Assembly urges the national parliaments of Council of Europe member states to:
8.1 abolish any legislative provisions discriminating against women and girls;
8.2 make available the necessary funds for the education of girls and boys, for teacher training and for raising public awareness of equality issues;
8.3 give financial support to civil society organisations that are working to promote equal opportunities for girls and boys and the participation of girls in public and political decision making;
8.4 take due account of gender budgeting, particularly in times of crisis, in view of the fact that girls and women are the most affected by economic downturns.
9. Lastly, it calls on the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to take account of gender equality issues in his work and, in particular, to denounce discrimination against girls during on-site visits while calling on the national authorities to ensure better treatment for girls, provide them with education and treat them as an asset rather than a liability.