LILING, China - Not long ago, Wen Xiujuan was swept up in a romance. Against the wishes of her parents, she moved to the small village of Liling, 300 km from her hometown, to marry a young man named Yang Liu. They lived happily with Mr. Liu's parents, who hoped the couple would have a son.
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FEZ, Morocco - "I was forced to leave home with my baby in my hands," Khadija, 42, told UNFPA. When she finally decided to divorce her husband after over 10 years of suffering abuse, she thought her agony would end. She was wrong.
Reproductive rights and choices have become a reality for more women than ever, says UNFPA's flagship report, State of World Population 2019, released today. Yet despite these gains, vast numbers of women around the world are not empowered to make fundamental decisions about their own bodies.
MATUNDO, Mozambique/LILONGWE, Malawi - Eleven days ago, Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique then crossed into Zimbabwe, leaving a wide path of destruction across Eastern Africa. By the time the storm struck, communities throughout Malawi and Mozambique were already reeling from days of fatal downpours and flooding.
DARA'A, Syrian Arab Republic - With the crisis in Syria soon to enter its ninth year, the people of Dara'a Governorate face especially harrowing conditions, with hostilities killing civilians as recently as July. Dara'a residents continue to require life-saving aid, including the full spectrum of health assistance.
PORT LOKO, Sierra Leone - Fatmata Sesay was 15 years old when she became pregnant. Her parents forced her to move in with her boyfriend, who was neither in school nor employed. Moving in with him felt like an underage marriage, she says.
Damboya, ETHIOPIA/New York, UNITED NATIONS - Tadelech Ermias remembers the ridicule she faced when she refused to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), which was considered a requirement for brides in her community. "It was inconceivable then for a girl to get married without being cut," she said.
MARADI, Niger - The preacher Malama Ouani may seem like an unlikely advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights. She teaches women about Islam and family welfare during study groups, known as "madrassas," in her conservative community in southern Niger.
Since its opening in 2015, over 1,800 young women and men in Zaatari refugee camp have benefitted from trainings on reproductive health and gender-based violence at the Questscope-UNFPA Youth Centre. This is the story of 16-year-old Yanal, who became an advocate against child marriage after learning about its harms at the UNFPA-supported youth centre in Zaatari.
An event organized by UN Women, the Global Network for Women Peacebuilders, UNFPA, Peacebuilding Support Office and the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh and Finland, brought together young women from four countries to share experiences and speak about their peacebuilding work.