The Girls’ rights

Education is key so that girls become independent and can have a future of their own. (Legnan Koula)

Girls are discriminated because of their age, but also just because they’re girls

Why do we talk about the rights of girls in particular? Minors, children around the world deserve special protection, but girls suffer twice as much discrimination: besides their age, they are also discriminated because they’re girls. Here we tell you more about how your rights are violated.

Forced Marriage

In a forced marriage, a girl is forced to marry whomever her family chooses, usually in exchange 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 UNAgency for Refugees, in some developing countries 70% of girls marry before they turn 18, often forced.

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

Besides, they are also at risk of violence and their first sexual experiences are forced. Teen pregnancies put the mother’s life and the baby’s in danger, because complications can occur during childbirth.

Sexual abuse and trafficking

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

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

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

Female Genital Mutilation

Genital mutilation or Female circumcision is standard practice in many countries. It consists of eliminating part or the entire clitoris (an organ of the female genital system) so that women do not get sexual pleasure during their relationships.

Circumcision takes place for cultural or religious reasons. It is very dangerous from a medical point of view, because it is almost never done in hospitals and hygienic conditions are minimal, putting the health of girls at great risk.

Worldwide, more than 3 million girls undergo circumcision every year. Promoting education is a way to fight these harmful practices.

The Right to Life, Education and Health

The right to life is much more violated in the case of girls, since more girls die than boys before they even reach their fifth birthday. 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, they must take care of the family. Many times, when the newborn is a girl, it is despised or abandoned by the family.

On the other hand, in many countries girls face more obstacles and challenges  to receive an education. Families prefer that they stay at home to help with chores so they don’t go to school.

It is also more difficult for girls to access good nutrition and proper medical care, which is why they often develop weaker health. This is compounded by problems like forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

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

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