Author: ICRW

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Ending Child Marriage and FGM Saves Lives and Money

This post is co-written by: Rachel, Policy Associate and Salma, Egypt Fellow Around the world, women’s and girls’ value as human beings is all too often based largely upon their sexuality, rather than their personal and societal contributions. Disproportionately, girls around the world are pulled out of school, restricted in terms of where and how they can get around and with who whom they are allowed to speak. Many are forced into unwanted marriages. One of the most profound ways girls are affected is they’re often forced to undergo what is known as Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). FGM/C is a type of surgery performed on young girls – in a misguided effort – to “preserve their purity.” This surgery can cause irreparable harm to girls’ health and, in some cases, can be deadly. Take, for example, Sohier Al-Batea, a 13-year old Egyptian girl, who died in 2013 after a trained and licensed medical doctor cut away parts of her external genitalia as part of a FGM/C surgery. Though universally considered a human rights violation, FGM/C …

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End Child Marriage: Girls Hold the Key to the Future

With their boundless potential, adolescent girls can be many things—but being a bride against their will should not be one of them. Adolescence is a time of learning, self-discovery, socialization, maturation, and fun. For the world’s almost 70 million child brides, adolescence is marked by gender-based violence, dangerous pregnancies, social isolation and crushing poverty. Child marriage is an unjust practice that limits girls’ potential. In a recent Huffington Post article, Human Rights Watch Senior Women’s Rights Researcher, Agnes Odhiambo showed the imperative need for the global community, including leaders in countries around the world, to do more to prevent and end child marriage. Ending child marriage is a very necessary step in addressing human rights violations against women and a key element of helping nations flourish. Currently, the number of young brides around the world is staggering. One third of the world’s girls are married before 18 and one in nine are married before they are 15. Odhiambo offers first-hand accounts of the troubling reality for many child brides she had met, saying, “Child brides were financially …

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Girl Power: Why We Need to Invest in Girls For a Better Future

Those of us who have had the privilege of working with and for girls in the developing world know how much they have to contribute to their families and communities. And we believe it’s time the world began to pay more attention to what girls have to say and to give them a chance. Girls stand at the doorstep to adulthood. If given a chance, they can be teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs and so much more. What does it mean to give girls a chance? It means providing girls the opportunity to lead healthy, productive lives so they can achieve their goals without fear of violence. It means tackling social and institutional norms that limit girls’ futures by devaluing their roles in society. And it means guaranteeing girls’ rights to education, health care, personal safety, economic security, and citizenship. Child marriage is one of the starkest examples of how we fail to give girls a chance. Girls who are married as children, have fewer educational and economic opportunities, they are more vulnerable to HIV, high-risk pregnancies, …