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International Day of the Girl is observed today

© UNICEF/UKRAINE/2005/G.Pirozzi

11 October 2012, Kyiv/New York. This year the International Day of the Girl Child is observed for the fisrt time following the resolution of the United Nation General Assembly. Girls face discrimination and violence every day across the world.  The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
The theme of the Day in 2012 is child marriage. Child marriage denies a girl of her childhood, disrupts her education, limits her opportunities, increases her risk of violence and abuse, and jeopardizes her health.
Globally, more than one in three young women aged 20-24 years were first married before they reached age 18. One third of them entered into marriage before they turned 15.  Child marriage results in early and unwanted pregnancies, posing life-threatening risks for girls. In developing countries, 90 per cent of births to adolescents aged 15-19 are to married girls, and pregnancy-related complications are the leading cause of death for girls in this age group.

Girls with low levels of schooling are more likely to be married early, and child marriage has been shown to virtually end a girl’s education. Conversely, girls with secondary schooling are up to six times less likely to marry as children, making education one of the best strategies for protecting girls and combating child marriage.

Preventing child marriage will protect girls’ rights and help reduce their risks of violence, early pregnancy, HIV infection, and maternal death and disability, including obstetric fistula. When girls are able to stay in school and avoid being married early, they can build a foundation for a better life for themselves and their families and participate in the progress of their nations.

Empowering girls and safeguarding their rights is at the heart of the issue. Governments, civil society and UN agencies, namely UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women, are working together to end child marriage. Further commitment and resources are required to accelerate action that will empower girls and scale up successful interventions’.

For more information, please contact Noreen Khan norkhan@unicef.org.

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About UNICEF: UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is the world leader in protecting the rights and interests of children. The Fund operates in over 190 countries and territories to protect and support children from an early age through adolescence. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF mission in Ukraine commenced in 1997. More info at: www.unicef.org.ua. Join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

 
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