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    A missed opportunity for empowerment: treating refugee girls as victims

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    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama just announced Let Girls Learn, which will consolidate efforts by the U.S. government to educate and empower girls abroad. I think the Obamas are on the right track and I look forward to tracking the success of this initiative. In the humanitarian community, we’ve been struggling with the best way to give girls tools and opportunities.

    Despite the fact that adolescent girls typically have begun to take on adult responsibilities – indeed some of them already are mothers themselves – they often lack the knowledge, skills and networks to help them navigate the world. Gender inequity becomes more pronounced in adolescence. Girls are less likely than boys to attend secondary school and are far more likely to be socially isolated.

    In conflict and disaster, when adolescent girls are forced to flee their homes, sometimes without their families, their vulnerability significantly increases. They lack the life experience to help them handle forced displacement at the same time they are targeted for sexual and gender-based violence at much higher rates.

    Read more on Trust.org.

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