Child Marriages, Girls’ Deaths

Pregnancy and childbirth resulting from child marriage kills more than 60 girls a day—~22,000 a year, according to a new analysis by Save the Children shared on yesterday’s International Day of the Girl Child.
The Global Girlhood Report 2021: Girls’ rights in crisis shows the global toll:

  • West and Central Africa: Nearly half (9,600) of all estimated child marriage-related deaths globally each year
  • South Asia: 2,000 deaths/year
  • East Asia and the Pacific: 650 deaths/year
  • Latin American and the Caribbean: 560 annual deaths/year

“Childbirth is the number one killer of teenaged girls because their young bodies aren’t ready to bear children,” said Janti Soeripto, Save the Children’s president and CEO. Yet stubborn myths (such as a belief that children born to young mothers are healthier and smarter) continue to fuel the practice.

The report calls on governments to:

  • Put girls’ rights and gender equality at the center of COVID-19 and humanitarian responses
  • Ensure the safe, unrestricted participation of female staff in humanitarian response
  • Join efforts to prevent 9 million child marriages in 5 years

Women’s Health One-Liners

A Kashmiri village has rejected dowries—which are tied to ~20 deaths a day in India; since banning the “evil customs,” Babawayil has had no divorces or violence against women. The Guardian
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro vetoed an effort to distribute free tampons and pads to economically vulnerable women in Brazil; 1 in 4 teenagers in the country lack access to period supplies—a problem that interferes with school attendance. The Brazilian Report

“There's no shame in it”: A campaign by health authorities and charities in Gaza aims to encourage women to be tested for breast cancer, combatting social stigma over the disease with Muslim preachers promoting early detection, bakers tucking messages into bread packages, and a mobile testing van. Reuters

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