Author: Mona-lee Belizaire


SDG 10: Let’s Not Leave Adolescent Mothers out the SDG Talks

On September 25th the United Nations adopted the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that reflect global ambitions to reduce inequality and create more prosperous societies. Goal #10, which aims to reduce inequality within and among countries, will not be achieved without empowering women and girls. The targets under this goal are closely related to girls and the laws and policies that affect them. In order to ensure that the targets for the SDGs are met, where it concerns girls, one must take a look at the policies and discriminatory laws that affect this population. Two policies to take a closer look at are those that prevent adolescent mothers from re-entering school and mandatory pregnancy testing. These laws and policies explicitly discriminate against girls and do not provide equal opportunity for them to receive an education and have a positive economic outcome. In many developing countries when a girl becomes pregnant she is expelled from school. The stigma she undergoes and the educational policies do not support her re-entry into the educational system after she has …

A portrait of Massa Foley and her daughter, Kona Taylor at the Liberia Government Hospital in Tubmanburg, Liberia  on June 24, 2015. Photo © Dominic Chavez/World Bank

Teenage Mothers in Developing Countries Need Support

As I was reading the blog entry “Teenage Pregnancy: What to do about it”, I was brought back to a familiar place, a time when I became a young mother. Although I got pregnant with my son at 18 and was a junior in college, I still faced the same stigma and shame as Brianna. As a young woman born and raised in a developing country, though living in the United States, the social consequences of getting pregnant became real. According to the World Health Organization, the vast majority of births that occur worldwide to girls aged 15-19 years old occur in low and middle income countries. The average global birth rate is 49 per 1000 girls among 15-19 years old with country rates ranging from 1 to 299 per 1000 girls. Often times, girls drop out of or are barred from school and are kicked out of their homes because of the stigma associated with becoming pregnant. Far too often teenage mothers are ignored and left to raise children by themselves with no support. …