As the gender debate takes center stage in development agenda of the world, economic empowerment of adolescent girls, child labor, and social protection as well as policy frameworks, international standards and concepts are becoming an issue of focus. This essay provides a response to three articles: World Report on child labor, why girls matter; integrated programs for economic empowerment, and convention 182 and how they help shape issues regarding children’s rights and protectionism against child labor.


  1. Convention 182 – The Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

This convention emerged from the need to put a stop to child labor. With the founding principle that the effective way to terminate the worst forms of child labor is through immediate and comprehensive actions, the convention seeks to foster action by various countries who are legally bound by it to inspire action and stop child labor. It, therefore, sets international standards that countries can use to protect children from the extreme form of exploitation.

In providing the international legal standards that countries can use, the convention seeks to put countries at par regarding child protectionism and children rights. All countries of the world including those that are not members of the ILO needs to ratify this convention. It is because, for a country to progress economically and socially, there is a need for them to raise a population of young people who are empowered. The future of a nation is dependent on how best the young ones are prepared to take on its leadership and management.

When children are involved in war and conflict, they get radicalized and become a potential threat to the peace and stability of a country. Similarly, when they are used for drug trafficking and other forms of extreme child labor such as slavery, they are denied the right to healthy development. Such children portend a bad future for a country. Thus, every country needs to ratify the convention and ensure that the population they are raising is healthy and productive.

However, the convention should have provided a time frame and targets for which members states should achieve. For instance, by 2020, a percentage reduction of children who are not accessing school or percentage of rehabilitated children. With the targets against a time frame, the outcomes can be measured and progress evaluated.

  1. Why Girls Matter? Integrated Programs for the Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls by Irene Diaz Soto, Floor Knoote & Kathryn Paik

This article provides a detailed integrated program on how to economically empower adolescent girls. Recognizing adolescent as one critical stage where emotional, physical and social development takes place, the authors, claim that the girl child independence towards adulthood is not addressed. Well, this is a plausible argument. Despite many efforts that seek to empower the female gender, the girl child is still socialized to depend on the males and little empowerment is done towards their financial autonomy.

Soto, Knoote & Paik, (n.d)  explains that policy and programs that intervene in female gender empowerment focus on women rather than much on the girl child. At this stage, a critical development stage has been skipped. The girls are therefore left with a very vulnerable faction of the population. The vulnerability to sexual abuse and gender-based violence puts girls at risk of poverty. I find this argument valid in the sense that when a woman is abused, both physically and sexually, they suffer low self-esteem. The result is early marriages and loss of ambitions which further makes them economically disadvantaged.

However, the article fails to provide ways through which synergies can be linked by the government, civil society and private sectors in bridging the poverty gap between the women and men to ensure that the women are financially autonomous. Additionally, the article needed to address some of the societal misconceptions about empowering the girl child so as to negotiate with and involve the communities to encourage an integrated approach to girl child empowerment.


  1. World Report on Child Labor: Economic vulnerability, social protection and the fight against child labor

The article emphasizes the role of social protectionism in putting a stop to extreme forms of child labor. Thus, the ILO seeks to set out strategies that can extend social security coverage and develop social security systems. With poverty as a basis for arguing the causality of child labor, the ILO proposes the establishment of cash and noncash programs to motivate positive behavior among communities in preventing child labor. It is a positive step which will inculcate new behavior patterns n the communities. However, what happens when the horse has had enough of the carrots? There is the likelihood of a lack of genuine commitment from the community.

The other strategies like public employment; social health protection; and income security in old age, as well as socially protecting people with disabilities, prove t be more effective. It is because; such strategies will have a ripple effect in the society framework. When adults are employed, they can afford certain paid labor and reduce the use of child labor. Similarly, the older people’s dependency shall be reduced through the social protection program lessening the burden on the wider family. As a result, there shall be little or no need for the use of children to provide them with labor.


The three articles detail different approaches to empowering the girl child and protecting the children from child labor. The articles indeed provided great insights towards their agenda with lilt limitations as explained in the essay. Overall, the strategies have the potential of empowering girls and reducing the rate of child labor across the world. Perhaps what is needed are a few adjustments to the limitations noted.

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