9 key issues affecting girls and women around the world

9 key issues affecting girls and women around the world
Kokomma Williams

Whether you’re new to the topic or a veteran advocate, this cheat sheet should help clarify what we mean when we talk about something as broad as girls’ and women’s issues. 

1. Access to EducationA 2013 report by UNESCO found that 31 million girls of primary school age were not in school, and about one out of every four young women in developing countries had never completed their primary school education. That number represents a huge pool of untapped girl power: that same report suggests that educated women are more likely to get married later, survive childbirth, raise healthy kids, find work, and earn more money, among other positives.

2. Employment Opportunities: Globally, the gender gap is wider: women earn only one-tenth of the world’s income despite working two-thirds of the total work hours. Empowering women to earn their fair share could benefit their entire communities in a big way: women are likely to invest more of their money back into their families and communities than men typically do.

3. Reproductive Health & Rights: 225 million women in developing countries have an unmet need for family planning, contributing to 74 million unplanned pregnancies and 36 million abortions every year, according to figures cited by Women Deliver, a women’s advocacy group. Helping women take charge of their baby-making reduces unsafe abortions and maternal deaths by over 70% each and conserves precious resources that would otherwise have gone toward pregnancy-related costs.

4. Maternal Health: The World Health Organization estimates that 800 women die every day from preventable, pregnancy-related causes. That’s nearly 300,000 lives per year needlessly lost during what is fundamentally a life-creating event. What more is there to say?

5. Gender-based Violence: 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes, according to WHO. Whether it’s domestic abuse, rape, or sex trafficking, gender-based violence denies far too many women the opportunity to live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

6. Child Marriage: An estimated 140 million girls will become child brides between 2011 and 2020. Girls who marry before age 18 are typically denied an education, at risk of complications related to premature childbearing, and more vulnerable to intimate partner violence.

7. Female Genital Mutilation: Female Genital Mutilation (or FGM), defined by WHO as including “procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons,” is a complex issue with religious and cultural implications for the groups who practice it. That said, the general consensus in the international community is that FGM imposes real health consequences, violates a child’s rights, and promotes inequality between the sexes.

8. Water & Sanitation: When clean drinking water and hygienic sanitation facilities are in short supply, women and girls suffer most. Case in point: Girls whose schools lack proper bathrooms will often skip school during their menstrual periods for fear of embarrassment or stigma. It’s also true that women in developing countries are frequently tasked with fetching water, which can be a time-consuming process. Girls and women of the world have much better things to do with their time than to fetch water.

9. Gender Equality: Equality (or the lack thereof) is a recurring issue when it comes to women and girls, whether it’s unequal access to schooling for girls in developing countries or unequal pay for women in the workplace. In a world where 95% of countries are led by a male head of state, it’s clear that we as a global community have a long way to go before women are given a fair shake.

While the 9 issues outlined above are specific to girls and women, addressing them will positively impact everyone. 

If you believe that girls and women everywhere deserve equal rights and that those rights must be protected Join our tweeter chat every Tuesday to lend your voice to these pressing issues as we discuss them in details. Follow@womenmhub and use #WomenSpeak in your tweets. You may tag @womenmhub and we will be happy to retweet.

 

 

 

culled from: globalcitizens

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