Girls Rights & the Human Rights Enterprise: Public/Private Partnerships

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Hara BASTAS, LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York, USA
Creating awareness of the girl child is in many ways the beginning steps of advocating for girls rights. Understanding girls rights comes with an appreciation that the girl child has rights and that her rights can in fact be violated. Due to her precarious position in the social order, girl children become trapped within the confines of a social category of age that denies her agency and gender that denies her legitimacy.

Without a larger understanding of girls rights itself within the most utilized global space of the United Nations, without the general discourse of girls’ rights exposed within global capitalism, the contextualized differences of the girl child can become misplaced in the battle between public and private interests. Without a structural understanding of the discrimination and social inequities that affect the lives of girl children, the social problems become individually located. But, what happens when the private interests are given more value than public interests? What are some challenges and triumphs to this newer relationship in the human rights enterprise? Are we globally addressing the structural conditions or hiding them with individual "success" stories?

Through content analysis of thirty transnational and national organizations dedicated to the girl child, my research seeks to offer a primarily substantive contribution using a feminist human rights analysis. Understanding the contradictions within the human rights enterprise offers the context for how the girl child becomes simultaneously the social problem and the social redeemer. In this complexity, the over 250 million girl children take on new interactions within multiple social institutions that both silence and allow her voices to be heard for sustainable social change. The public/private relationship of advancing girls’ rights within the global community through the United Nations allows for multiple social categories to be centered which are usually left to the margins.