“Girls are often treated as inferior and are socialised to put themselves last, thus undermining their self esteem. Discrimination and neglect in childhood can initiate a lifelong downward spiral of deprivation and exclusion from the social mainstream. Initiatives should be taken to prepare girls to participate actively, effectively and equally with boys at all levels of social, economic, political and cultural leadership” (para260, p. 110, BPFA)
The BPFA does not recognise that girl children fall into distinct age and demographic groupings, each with its own set of needs. The distinct rights of the girl child are not specifically mentioned in the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
The Beijing + 10 processes saw a rise in young women engaging in UN debate. In 2004 it was noted that millions of women and girls in the Asia Pacific Region were “missing” victims of varied forms of violence. Violence such as armed conflict, domestic violence including honor killings, dowry deaths, female infanticide and sex selective abortion. Violence being inflicted on girls and young women persists due to the exploited and vulnerable position of women and children. It is recognised within the BPFA that the multiple concerns of different groups of girls and young women have yet to be met.
It was noted in the Asia Pacific Statement to CSW 49th that there has been some responses to made by governments to address the special needs of the girls and young women, especially in the areas of violence.
However, it was also recognises in the Beijing + 10 NGO review that the BPFA does not recognise that girls and young women fall into distinct age groupings, each with their own set of needs. Diversity in demographic characteristics has yet to be recognised, including differences in sexual orientation, race, marital status, indigenous identities, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, disability, refugee status, rural communities, and migrants. Distinction has also to be made of internally displaced people and the impact of their socioeconomic status.
Young women and girls lack access to information, education and services as well as a lack of meaningful participation in the community at various levels of the decision making process. This situation reinforces the exploited and vulnerable position of young women and girls.
Global economic trends and policies in the Asia Pacific region have negatively impacted on young women and girls as reflected in the increase in child prostitution and trafficking, child labour, child homelessness and culturally sanctioned child marriages and sexual exploitation.
During the Beijing + 10 review, there was great concern that violence against young women and girls was unashamedly rising in both the private and public spheres. This was manifested in experiences being noted of rising levels of verbal, physical and emotional abuse, sexual harassment and bullying (particularly because of their sexual orientation, religion or disability) . Negative representations of young women and girls in the media were thought to perpetuate low self esteem and condone violence.