The Economist published an article in its December, 2020 issue - Getting Girlhood Right - that describes the gains women and girls have made in recent decades in terms of education and literacy rates, female baby survival, child marriage, contraception and overall health. The article lists all of the follow-on effects of ‘getting girlhood right’ including fewer and healthier children, and better education leading to more earnings and more choices. The gains don’t include all girls and all parts of the world. The Economist reports that “less than half of all girls in South Asia, the Middle East or Africa have access to the contraception they want. Only one girl in three south of the Sahara finishes her secondary education. And…rates of child marriage in Africa are the highest in the world.”

The article then goes on to describe how tenuous, how precious and how threatened those gains have become because of Covid-19. Historically, it is girls who suffer the most when disaster hits and the gains that have been made can disappear overnight.  

While organizations like Seva Canada cannot compel governments to ban child marriage, ensure girls stay in school and provide adequate primary health care including contraceptives and vaccinations; we must re-double our effort at promoting gender equity and increase our support for utilization of services by women and girls in all of our eye care programs.  

It’s a start.

Penny Lyons,
Executive Director

Learn more about gender equity and eye care by watching our Equal Right to Sight video and by visiting here:

Equal Right to Sight video image

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