Jessica Bennett is gender editor at The New York Times and has recently led an exciting multi-media project releasing on the International Day of the Girl Child (11 October), "This is 18". It shows what life looks like for girls turning 18 in 2018 around the world, captured through photographs,
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"This is a critical time for the girls of our world. It is a time for the protection and assertion of rights, a time to listen hard and speak louder, no matter how difficult; to call out the continuing imbalances of power; to band together and take a stand on the changes that must happen so that girls and women are heard and their experiences are taken seriously. It is a time to act, together with men and boys, on the issues that will determine a lived equality for all, central to which is the ending of violence against women and girls."
Early-marriage is a long-standing traditional practice within the Ashkali, Roma and Egyptian communities in Kosovo. Thanks to the campaign conducted by the Network of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Women Organizations of Kosovo (NRAEWOK) – a project under the EU–UN Women regional programme, ‘Implementing Norms, Changing Minds’ – these communities are learning about the detrimental effects of early-marriage and the restrictions it imposes on girls’ prospects of a decent life, as well as the mechanisms for preventing the potential for violence against women.
"That's what's left of my teeth after my husband beat me," Ameera* said at a women's shelter in south-western Yemen. She held out three white shards, which she keeps as evidence for her divorce proceedings. "He hit me so hard he broke my teeth and nose," she told UNFPA.
The Government of Zambia, the Government of Canada, UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women convened a United Nations General Assembly High Level side event to advocate for accelerating the Common African Position (CAP) on Ending Child Marriage.
Thanks to growing implementation of a law passed last year, child marriage may soon be a relic of Malawi's past, and on the eve of the International Day of the Girl Child, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson visited the country to celebrate the achievements of UN Women, the Malawian Government, local chiefs and girls who have returned to school after having their marriages annulled.
Concerted global efforts have led to a 60% drop in new infections among children, which has averted 1.2 million new HIV infections among children in 21 priority countries since 2009.