Vienna, 11 October 2013 Press release

Spindelegger: "We must improve opportunities for girls worldwide!"

Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child

Vienna, 11 October 2013 – "Worldwide, girls still have poorer chances in life than boys. The second International Day of the Girl Child that we are celebrating today is a good opportunity to underline how important it is to push ahead efforts to promote girls", Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child.

Girls are still considered as either inferior or as a burden for their families in many countries. This deeply rooted resentment is one of the reasons why female foetuses are aborted or why the nutrition and health of girls is neglected. Referring to widespread cases of the disappearance of girls he said: "We must not accept the cruel phenomenon of ‘missing girls’. We must fight it, draw people's attention to the existing inequalities and promote health and educational programmes that are targeted to girls."

Austrian Development Cooperation contributes to these efforts: In Ethiopia, Austria supports an NGO that makes vocational training possible for young women who have lost their parents. The NGO cooperates closely with local companies offering internships for the female students to ensure their swift integration into the labour market. In Jordan, Austrian Development Cooperation together with CARE are in an intensive struggle to put a stop to domestic violence against girls and women by involving not only the girls affected but also parents, teachers and community leaders to bring about a change of awareness.

"Two initiatives in which Austria has been greatly involved this year raised the attention of international forums with regard to the discrimination of girls: At the UN Crime Prevention Commission Austria demanded that the murder of women and girls be fully investigated, and we submitted a resolution on fighting child mortality in the UN Human Rights Council. Both resolutions provide for concrete measures in the framework of the United Nations. We will pursue these issues further with all our might and lend our efforts to ensuring girls will be given the same appreciation and the same opportunities in all areas that boys have", Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Spindelegger concluded.

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