The Second World Congress of Education International, meeting in Washington D.C., U.S.A., from 25 to 29 July 1998:
1. Recalls that the Convention on the Rights of the Child declares: The States parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his/her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or status. (Convention on the Rights of the Child, UN, part 1, art.2.1)
2. Recognises that in many countries and regions, in spite of some progress reported, girls are still discriminated against and that discrimination starts even before they are born;
3. Notes that patriarchal notions of the girl child as less important than the boy persist and that certain traditional practices reveal a clear preference for male children;
4. Notes that new reproduction techniques of genetic planning and sexual selection which offer the means of avoiding the birth of a girl are increasingly used in both industrialised and developing countries;
5. Condemns practices that perpetuate discrimination against girls such as early marriage, early childbearing, reduced food and nutritional allocations, lack of access to physical and mental health services, violence directed specifically at women and girls, actions that weaken self-esteem, sexual exploitation and aggressive, cruel and degrading practices such as genital mutilation;
6. Affirms that education is a key instrument to improving the future for the girl child;
7. Notes the direct correlation between investment in the education of girls and the prosperity of societies.
8. The Congress determines that EI and its member organisations shall:
a. promote the implementation of the strategic objectives of the Beijing Platform of Action concerning the girl child that call for promotion of the human rights of girls, elimination of all forms of discrimination, negative cultural attitudes and practices and violence against girls;
b. promote and protect the rights and increase the awareness of the needs and potential of girls;
c. eliminate discrimination against girls in education, skills development and training;
d. promote the elimination of discrimination against girls in health care and nutrition;
e. support initiatives to eliminate economic exploitation through child labour and ensure that such initiatives consider the plight of girls;
f. promote educational systems that are committed to offering the girl child equal opportunities of access, and that consider the special needs of girls from marginalised groups in society.
9. The Congress calls upon EI and its affiliates to develop action plans to:
a. review their policies and practices, activities and publications, to ensure that in every thing we do girls are seen as equally valued as boys;
b. campaign to promote education for girls as a human right;
c. lobby governments to include strategic objectives on the girl child in national development plans and programmes;
d. work with parent groups and civil society organisations at the national and regional levels to promote education for girls, to combat child prostitution, child labour, and other negative practices ensuring that the special problems that face the girl child are taken into consideration;
e. promote pre-service and in-service teacher training that includes courses that deal specifically with the education of girls.