Let’s #BreakTheBias with children’s rights!

What is International Women’s Day?

Happy International Women’s Day! Today’s global celebration has a twofold purpose. Firstly, it marks the many social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and girls across the world. It also aims to promote a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

How does International Women’s Day relate to children’s rights?

Children have the right to have their human rights respected and protected irrespective of their (or their parents’) race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status. This human right is found in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Together’s 2022 State of Children’s Rights Report compiles promising practice, resources and top tips on how you can implement this human right for children across Scotland. The following gives an overview of what the report says about discrimination, participation and access to justice.

What does Together’s 2022 State of Children’s Rights Report say about… discrimination?

A whole chapter within the report is dedicated to challenging discrimination and supporting children whose rights are at an increased risk of being breached. Whilst the report does not specifically focus on tackling gender discrimination directly, gender does further impact the extent of discrimination faced by many children.

For example, Together’s report looks at children experiencing poverty noting stigma can prevent support from being sought by families and children. Given women and girls are disproportionately impacted by poverty and are dependent on social security, this can hinder the full realisation of girls’ rights.

Children have also said they feel judged, dismissed and not taken seriously by adults if they say they are struggling with their mental health. Mental health stigma can be further compounded based on a child’s gender. For example, girls have said they are portrayed as a “drama queen” or have their feelings put down to “hormones” if they express their emotions.

What does Together’s 2022 State of Children’s Rights Report say about… participation?

In a survey by Girlguiding Scotland, 53% of 11 to 21-year-old women and girls said older people don’t listen to people their age or respect their opinions. Therefore, systems need to be changed and designed with the specific needs of girls and women in mind. Together’s report includes a chapter on how we can support the participation of girls. It includes top tips and resources to ensure participation is transparent and informative, voluntary, respectful, relevant, child-friendly, inclusive, and safe and sensitive.

What does Together’s 2022 State of Children’s Rights Report say about… access to justice?

Access to justice is a spectrum of proactive, preventative and reactive measures – this includes child-friendly information about rights, support from independent advocates and help from legal representation in courts. Looking at children’s rights issues through a gender lens, access to justice can help address violence against women and girls.

This chapter disseminates information on how organisations have supported children to access justice and the importance of each measure.

What next?

We hope Together’s 2022 State of Children’s Rights report can help you to challenge biases, overcome stereotypes and put an end to discrimination. In doing so, we hope we can create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive Scotland for all!

This blog is part of Together’s 2022 State of Children’s Rights report blog series. You can find out more about our 2022 report here!

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