Étáin Sweeney Keogh is member of Plan International Ireland’s Youth Advisory Panel. Age 18, she is All Ireland Public Speaking Finalist, and human rights campaigner against FGM and the blood diamond trade. Etain will be taking on the Irish part of Plan International’s global initiative #GirlTakeover which is taking place on October 11th for International Day of the Girl.
Maia Dunphy is a TV presenter, writer and producer. After many years working behind the camera on shows such as Podge & Rodge, she made her on-screen debut hosting the documentary From Boom to Maternity in 2012. She has since written and hosted a number of successful TV documentaries including the critically acclaimed Merlot & Me and the four-part What Women Want series.
Joe McHugh T.D. was appointed Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development at the Departments of the Taoiseach and Foreign Affairs and Trade in May 2016. He was previously Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources with Special Responsibility for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources from July 2014. He was also previously appointed by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny as Co-Chairperson of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly in July 2011. In July 2012, Deputy McHugh was elected as Chairperson of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Deputy McHugh was re-elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fine Gael T.D. for Donegal North-East in 2016.
Conor Faughnan is one of Ireland’s best known broadcasters, Conor joined the Plan International Ireland Board in December 2013 and serves on the Marketing and Fundraising Sub-Committee. Graduating with a Diploma in Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations from the Institute of Commercial Management in 1996, Conor is one of Ireland’s most senior public affairs and media professionals. Since 1990, Conor has worked for AA Ireland in a number of roles, including Road watch Broadcast, Public Affairs Officer, Director of Policy and, since 2012, has been its Director of Policy and Consumer Affairs.
Governments will not end the abuse and inequality facing millions of girls without better statistics on the realities of their lives, says groundbreaking report by child rights organisation, Plan International.
The Counting the Invisible report, due to be published as a launch event in Dublin on October 11th (International Day of the Girl), reveals that girls are effectively invisible to governments and policy makers because vital data about them is either incomplete or missing.
Currently no credible statistics exist worldwide that show the real life challenges of girls, such as how many drop out of school due to early marriage, pregnancy or sexual violence, or how many girls become mothers under the age of 15.
“Lack of data means governments are blind to basic rights being denied to girls such as the right to education or control over their own bodies. Even with scattered information we know girls face neglect, abuse and exploitation on a daily basis. The real scale of this injustice could be several times worse,” said David Dalton, CEO of Plan International Ireland.
“The hard truth is that millions of girls are vulnerable because we have no reliable way of knowing what is happening to them.”
Achieving gender equality is one of Global Goals that were agreed by world leaders in 2015 and which promise to transform the world by 2030.
Plan International is warning that without an urgent step-change by governments, this goal, alongside others, cannot be realised.
“We cannot improve what we can’t measure. It is easier to ignore a problem when there is little evidence of how pervasive it is or how deeply it affects people. We must make sure every girl counts and can be counted,” said Mr Dalton.
The report urges governments to fill gaps in data such as pregnancy rates for under 15s or incidences of sexual harassment. Another urgent issue is to break down current data to give a more complete picture of reality on the basis of a girl’s age, sex, ethnicity, wealth, location or disability. Many girls become effectively invisible as discrimination forces them to the margins of society.
Counting the Invisible introduces a series of reports that will track the progress of girls and women towards true equality during the 15-year lifespan of the Global Goals. It highlights the vision of a coalition of organisations working to hold governments to their commitments. The partners in this coalition include Data 2X, KPMG, the International Women’s Health Coalition, One Campaign, Plan International and Women Deliver, with the aim of producing an independent tracker that advocates, activists, governments and civil society partners can use to measure and press for progress towards gender equality.
The report is Plan International’s contribution to the coalition as part of its Because I am a Girl global initiative – a movement to ensure that girls everywhere can learn, lead, decide and thrive.
We have a vision that all girls will have access to a quality education and opportunities for lifelong learning by 2030.
We have a vision that all girls and young women will be able to participate in decision-making that affects them by 2030.
We have a vision that all girls will have the right to decide their futures by 2030, including when and who to marry.
We have a vision that all girls will be able to thrive by 2030 and reach their potential so they live free from discrimination.