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Theme of World Population Day: 'Investing in teenage girls'

CCTV.com

07-11-2016 12:56 BJT

World Population Day focuses attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. This year’s theme is “Investing in Teenage Girls.”

Teenage girls around the world face big challenges. The executive director of UNFPA said, “Marginalized girls are vulnerable to poor reproductive health and are more likely to become mothers while still children themselves. They have a right to understand and control their own bodies and shape their own lives.”

Challenges like illiteracy, health problem, sexual violence, child marriage, and premature pregnancy are exacerbated among marginalized girls, like those from ethnic minorities or those living in poor or remote areas.

According to the UNFPA, pregnancy-related complications are the biggest cause of death for women between ages 15 and 19, even killing as many as 70,000 in developing countries each year. South Asia accounts for about half of teen pregnancies in emerging countries.

Many girls in this region are ignorant of their human rights for lack of education, as more than half the out-of-school children around the world are girls.

Today, of these, two come from Sub-Saharan Africa, while one is from South Asia. That explains why literacy rates are much lower in girls than boys. Many girls stay out of school; child marriage and young motherhood are common factors, as well as trafficking, disease, secular violence, and lack of sanitary facilities.

The UNFPA believes investing in teenage girls will have major benefits for society. Education will improve their skills and knowledge, which will help bring more women into the labor force, therefore helping to boost the global economy.

“Marginalized girls are vulnerable to poor reproductive health and more likely to become mothers while still children themselves. They have a right to understand and control their own bodies and shape their own lives,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.

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