Now, that’s a panel title that writes its own headline.    And here’s a quote from that panel that writes its own opening: “Girls education is the vaccine of the 21century”  – Senator Michaelia Cash, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Australia.

With power statements like these who needs to go writing their own content?

On opening day of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) , UNGEI sponsored a direct-hitting data-driven panel of experts whom delivered an unequivocal message: “Girls are actually at the center of the future or we will not have one”  – Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women.

Pop-out words from the two-hour livestream that resonated with us: Targeted. Marginalized. Rural. Girls. Education. And thankfully these words too: ACTION and INVESTMENT!

“We are at a crossroads. If we are unable to invest significantly in girls we will not address the issue of relieving poverty sustainably”        -Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Right now, people from all over the world are gathered in New York City to attend CSW – to study, highlight and problem solve the issues women endure around the globe. They are there to help set the post-Millennium Development Goals agenda and to question why we are looking at the face of 2015, the year of supposed goal acquisition, with still so much to achieve.

As Senator Cash so aptly put it, without a major shift towards focusing on girl’s education, we will see no progress towards alleviating global poverty. And today’s reality with where we are towards reaching the MDGs? Just one example: “There are setbacks…if the rural, the poorest girls are advancing towards primary education at the pace that we have today, it will take until 2084 to reach (our goal).”– Irina Bokova, Director General, UNESCO. 2084? Non-negotiable.

Collectively we can help put the issue of girls, their education and the importance of their futures not only on the agenda but at the heart, the bulls eye – the place we know it has to lodge – not only for the future of each individual girl, her rights and her future – but also for the natural environments, communities and future families that encircle her.

*The fifty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women commenced March 10, 2014.  The session will last until the 21st and will focus on the challenges and progress made surrounding the “implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls.” 

 “Business as usual is simply not enough.” – Chernor Bah

 

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By Maddie Torke and Anne Wadsworth

 

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