International Day of the Girl Child celebrated
As the world marks the International Day of the Girl Child, women’s rights activists point to progress on a wide array of issues but say more needs to be done to protect girls from child marriage, sexual assault and other forms of exploitation.
Experts say girls in their first decade are better positioned for success than their mothers and grandmothers were, thanks to advances in health care and nutrition, and wider access to education. But they say more must be done to keep adolescent and teenage girls in school, and to protect them from violence, unintended pregnancies and forced marriage, which remains common in much of the developing world.
“Poverty, violence, and cultural traditions oppress millions of girls in every part of the world,” said Stephanie Sinclair, a visual journalist who founded “Too Young To Wed,” which campaigns to protect girls’ rights and end child marriage, while offering services to survivors. “It is still a global struggle to have girls valued for more than their bodies - for just their sexuality, fertility and labor.”
The U.N. children’s agency says 12 million girls under the age of 18 will marry this year, and 21 million between the aged of 15 and 19 will get pregnant.
— Hearst wire services