International Day of the Girl Child cel­e­brated

Connecticut Post - - OBITUARIES/NEWS -

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

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