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As The UN Special Envoy for Global Education, former Prime Minister of the UK Gordon Brown has been blogging at the Huffington Post about girls: girls without education, girls enslaved, girls in violence, girls without healthcare.

But all of that is changing, he says, because girls have begun helping themselves, and there is plenty more girl protests and defiance planned for this year.

“The rights of girls is moving to the top of the global issues agenda,” says Brown, “because young women are saying with rising resolve that they will no longer accept the rules and conventions imposed upon them by a male-dominated adult population. Demonstrations that started as cautious, often gentle, admonitions to the powers that be, with respectful requests for change, have now come to encompass a set of defiant, non-negotiable demands in the form of ultimatums — and rightly so. Protests that once were pleas to ‘please stop this’ have become protests that insist ‘no more and never again’.”

But Brown says that this movement goes beyond just protesting and demanding that girls’ rights be upheld. "[Girls] have now become change-makers, demanding the righting of wrongs. [There is a] determination that action must follow words, young girls are saying they will no longer accept the casual disregard and routine neglect. Now the authorities are being forced to bring in reforms, from fast-track rape courts to changes in sentencing policy.

“This is the year when a new form of female empowerment will not only change the way we see the world, but finally deliver rights that have been denied for too long.”

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