All posts tagged: endchildmarriage

To #EndHIV4Her: Tackle Child Marriage

To say that child marriage and HIV among adolescents are linked feels a lot like stating the obvious. But I learned today, at Day 3 of the 2016 International AIDS Conference, there is very little formal knowledge to back that claim up. The overarching message from this morning’s discussion was a simple one; it is really difficult, if not totally impossible, to tackle HIV unless you tackle child marriage. On the one hand, girls and young women make up approximately two out of every 3 new HIV infections among people aged 10-24 years. On the other, 15 million girls per year are married before they turn 18. Two global problems of colossal scale with two sets of similar causes; gender inequality, poverty, rigid social norms, lack of education, inaccessible health information and services. And yet until recently, the relationship between the two has remained pretty much ignored. It was even suggested at one point that this session may well be a historic moment – recognition at last of their interwoven nature. Girls Not Brides, who hosted the panel, have created a fact …

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 …

SDG 5: An Invitation to Co-Create An Equal World for Women and Girls

In the month of September, world leaders, private sector leaders, civil society organizations, religious groups and young people gathered at the United Nations to adopt a new sustainable development agenda. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals that provide renewed hope and a road map that will guide the international community on a path towards shared prosperity, improved lives and a better planet for all. Specifically on women and girls, the 2030 agenda seeks to realize the human rights of all, to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women as outlined in Goal 5. As the dust settles on the streets of New York, let us take a moment to reflect on what lies at stake for women and girls in the years to come. An Agenda for Every Woman and Girl: A stand-alone goal on gender with gender-sensitive targets is the first step in the right direction as far as women and girls are concerned. However, having learned from missed opportunities in the implementation of the Millenium …

Day of the African Child: It is Time to End Child Marriage

As the Region prepares to mark the Day of the African Child, the African Union has estimated that 58 million young women in developing countries have been married off before their 18th birthday. At the present trend, by 2020, 143 million girls would be married before age 18, an alarming average of 14.2 million girls every single year. On June 16, 1976, nearly ten thousand black students from Soweto, South Africa, marched the streets to protest the poor quality of their education and demanding their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of innocent students were shot by security forces. And in the 2 weeks of protest that followed, dubbed the Soweto Uprising, more than a hundred students were killed and thousands were seriously injured. Since 1991, Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 to commemorate those killed during the Soweto Uprising in South Africa, and to recognize the courage of the students who marched for their right to an education. Every year, a theme is identified and this year’s …

Making Strides to End Child Marriage

More than 700 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday. More than one in three (about 250 million) entered into marriage before the age 15. Ending child marriage is not just a priority for the world, but a necessity that will enable girls and women to participate more fully in society. Girls and women are at the heart of global development, and when given the opportunity, education, and tools, can go onto raise healthier and smaller families of their own that will, in turn, contribute to their communities and society. We have seen an increase into the awareness of child marriage, thanks to organizations like UNICEF, Girls Not Brides, Save the Children, and Breakthrough. Just this month, Let Girls Lead (LGL), based at the Public Health Institute, celebrated the Malawian Parliament voting to pass the National Marriage Law, which raised the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18 years. After over five years of advocacy by LGL partners and other key organizations, the victory guarantees a Malawian girl’s right to be a girl for the first time in …

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 …

End Child Marriage, Accelerate Progress Towards the Millennium Development Goals

Child marriage devastates communities all over the world, with an estimated one-third of the world’s female population aged 18 and younger married off as brides. A horrific reality for millions of girls, child marriage involves painful lifetimes of gender-based violence, dangerous pregnancies, complicated childbirths, risks of obstetric fistula, illiteracy, and poverty. Like organizations including Girls Not Brides, I believe that ending child marriage is key to accelerating progress toward achieving development on local and international scales. The perpetuation of child marriage interferes with the fulfillment of six out of eight Millennium Development Goals: Goal 1: Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger In common procedures for child marriage, prospective grooms offer a “bride price” to the bride’s parents to consent to him marrying their daughter. Typically, the bride’s parents accept the money hoping to escape difficult economic circumstances. Yet, the financial “gains” that families may reap are short-term, and cannot compensate for the long-term damage that child marriage incurs. A child bride does not receive opportunities for education and economic participation crucial to poverty alleviation. She and her family are locked in perpetual cycles of poverty, with hunger …

Child Marriage: Enough is Enough

Child marriage remains one of the most horrific human rights violations that exists today. It is estimated that globally 14 million girls are married off before the age of 18, robbing them of their childhood and leaving them vulnerable to violence, poverty, domestic slavery, sexual assault and HIV/AIDS. Child marriage is a human rights violation that cuts across countries, cultures, religions and ethnicities. The recent news coverage of the 8-year-old girl who was married off to a 40-year-old man in Yemen, poignantly highlights the desperate need to outlaw child marriage. After their wedding night, the 8-year-old girl – identified as “Rawan” – died from torn genitals and severe bleeding in the northwest city of Hardh. According to media accounts, the fatal injuries were incurred through sexual intercourse. Let me emphasize that it was NOT sexual intercourse. It was rape and it should be clearly understood as so.  Rawan’s tragic story is sadly not unique and millions of girls die every year from injuries incurred from sexual violence. Furthermore, as a result of child marriage, these girls …

Let Girls be Girls, not Brides

“If we succeed in empowering girls, we will succeed in everything else,” – Desmond Tutu Girls should be allowed to be girls, allowed to play, allowed to laugh, allowed to go to school. All children should have this possibility. Let us not only mark our calendars today, the first International Day of the Girl Child, but let us mobilize ourselves into action. No girl should be married off against her will and be neglected the possibility to go to school. No girl should be violated the way a child bride is violated. A first step is to join the ongoing campaign to end child marriage through Too Young To Wed. Raise awareness and advocate for change. What will you do? Featured images from tooyoungtowed.org