Girls’ rights

Education is key in making sure girls become independent and are able to have a future ahead. (Legnan Koula)

Besides being discriminated against for their age, girls and women are also discriminated against by gender.

Why do we specifically talk about the rights of girls? Being under-age, children around the world deserve special protection, but girls suffer double discrimination: in addition to age, they are discriminated against by gender. Here we explain how their rights are being violated.

Forced marriage

In a forced marriage, a girl is forced to marry whomever her family chooses, usually for an economic reward.

This practice is not usual in the West, but there are many countries and regions where it is a standard practice. According to UNHCR, the United Nations Agency for Refugees, in some developing countries 70% of girls marry before they’re 18 often forced.

The consequences of child marriage affect girls and women also when they reach adulthood. When getting married being under-age , most are forced to drop out of school, which makes it difficult for them to later find a paid job in the future.

In addition, they are at risk of suffering violence and that their first sexual encounters are forced. Teenage pregnancy puts both the mother’s and the baby’s life in danger, because complications can come up during labor.

Sexual abuse and trafficking

Sexual abuse defines any sexual practice in which there is no consent by both parties. In most cases, it is committed by men against women, and it is estimated that 50% of sexual abuse cases that happen are against girls.

This problem exists worldwide, but in a different way depending on the context. According to the statistics of registered cases, in the western countries the aggressor is usually a figure close to the family or inner circle.

In war zones, girls are used as sexual slaves within armies, but also in forced marriages. In other cases, they use them in the trafficking of women and girls: an illegal market where girls and women are sold for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Female genital mutilation

Genital mutilation or ablation is standard practice in many countries. It consists of eliminating part or all of the clitoris (an organ of the female genital system) so that women do not feel any kind of sexual pleasure during their relationships.

Ablation occurs for cultural or religious reasons. It is very dangerous from a medical point of view, because it is rarely practiced in hospitals and hygienic conditions are minimal, putting girls’ risk at great risk.

Worldwide, more than 3 million girls are subjected to ablation every year. Promoting education is a way to fights against these such dangerous and harmful practices.

Right to Life, Education and Health

The right to Life is much less respected, because more girls than boys die before the age of five. This does not respond to a biological question, but to the macho and violent customs that prevail in some countries.

In China, for example, male children are preferred because, by tradition, these must take care of the family. Many times, when the newborn is a girl, families reject or abandon it.

On the other hand, in many countries girls find it harder to receive an education. Families prefer that they stay at home to help in household tasks and that is why they don’t go to school.

Little girls and girls are many times deprived of good nutrition and medical care, which is why they often develop worse health. This gets worse with issues like forced marriage or female genital mutilation.

Translated by Chaplin’s Languages | Find out more in Junior Report.

 

 

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