Weddings are supposed to be joyous and festive occasions, but this one is anything but a fairytale. About 15 million girls will be married as children this year - their right to a childhood ripped away. This video produced with Bridal Musings, one of the world's most influential wedding blogs, aims to put a spotlight on this grim reality.
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"It's a crime. It's like wiping a person away because you take everything away from them." (KII - Women's Rights Advocate, Kandahar) Child marriage in Afghanistan persists at rates that suggest at least one in three young girls will be married before they turn 18.
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.
Around 30 teenagers aged 15 to 19 were newly infected with HIV per hour in 2017, according to a new UNICEF report. Of these, two-thirds were girls.
“This is a crisis of health as well as a crisis of agency,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “In most countries, women and girls lack access to information, to services, or even just the power to say no to unsafe sex. HIV thrives among the most vulnerable and marginalized, leaving teenage girls at the centre of the crisis.”
Girls living with disabilities often have fewer opportunities to engage with the broader world than boys. In April, UNFPA began working with the Special Olympics to create opportunities for adolescent girls to play and learn. The project will provide sports activities for both girls with disabilities and those without. The participants will also learn about their reproductive health and their human rights.
In recent years, women athletes in what have traditionally been known as “male sports," like soccer, have gained more recognition in Mexico. Initiatives such as the creation of the MX Female League for women soccer players (2017) has facilitated this progress, but also, because women in Mexico are beginning to demand equal conditions and pay in the world of sport.
Limited educational opportunities for girls and barriers to completing 12 years of education cost countries between $15 trillion and $30 trillion in lost lifetime productivity and earnings, says a new World Bank report launched ahead of the July 12 United Nations Malala Day.
Fatimata, 12, had a narrow escape after resisting an arranged marriage, but her case reflects a wider problem among Malian refugees in Mauritania.
While the number of child marriages occurring among Syrian refugees in Iraq is not available, research conducted among Syrian refugees elsewhere suggests a link between the poverty and instability facing displaced families like Aysheh’s, and rising pressure for girls to get married. Feeling helpless, Aysheh sought help from the UNFPA-supported Zahrat Al-Yasamin women’s social centre in the camp.
Girls around the world lack basic knowledge about their sexual and reproductive health and struggle to access menstrual health supplies. Many grapple with shame and taboos surrounding menstruation. These issues undermine girls’ health and rights. Girls can be subjected to stigma or miss school due to difficulty managing their menstrual hygiene. These concerns are being addressed at this week’s Menstrual Health Management Symposium in Johannesburg, South Africa.