Marcela from El Salvador is among the young delegates who will be speaking out on girls' rights
March 2013: Plan-supported girl delegates from around the world are at the United Nations in New York to speak out on girls' rights and highlight violence in schools - one of the biggest barriers girls face in completing an education.
Between 500 million and 1.5 billion children experience violence every year, many within school walls.
Girls are especially vulnerable to rape, exploitation, coercion and discrimination perpetrated by students and teachers. The consequences include unwanted pregnancies, poor performance at school and high dropout rates.
The 6 girl delegates from El Salvador, Uganda, Vietnam, Finland and Norway are participating in the 57th Commission on the Status of Women* (CSW), which takes place from 4 to 15 March at the UN headquarters.
It is an opportunity for the girls to share their experiences and influence key representatives of member states, who will be evaluating progress on gender equality, setting global standards and formulating policies to promote girls? and women?s empowerment worldwide.
For Hakima, a 13-year-old delegate from Kampala, Uganda, school violence is a key issue.
?We have a big problem with boys in our community. They harass girls in schools. Not only boys but teachers also use physical and even sexual violence against girls. Many girls drop out of school to keep themselves safe,? she said.
The girls have already supported the launch of a new Plan report at the event - A girl?s right to learn without fear: Working to end gender-based violence in school, which highlights the issues, showcases Plan?s work and puts forward a global framework to guide policymakers for effective action.
Some of the delegates also spoke at the launch of a Plan report on safety in cities on 8 March, International Women?s Day. The report shows that although girls are more likely to be educated and marry later in cities, they face regular threats to their safety.
Meet the young delegates
Follow the girls? activities and show your support on Twitter @planglobal
Join Plan's Because I am a Girl campaign
Learn about Plan's child and youth participation work
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