Protecting Girl's Rights

The Foundation for Addressing Motherhood in Childhood

Publication Date: 2013
Author: UNFPA
Publisher: UNFPA

Download

Every day, 20,000 girls below age 18 give birth in developing countries. Births among girls are also common in developed countries but on a much smaller scale. A pregnancy can have immediate consequences for a girl’s health, education and income-earning potential. And it often alters the course of her entire life. The tragedy is that for most adolescents, particularly those below the age of 18, pregnancies are not the result of a deliberate choice. To the contrary, pregnancies are generally the result of an absence of choices and of circumstances beyond a girl’s control. Early pregnancies reflect powerlessness, poverty and pressures—from partners, peers, families and communities. And in too many instances, they are the result of sexual violence or coercion. Girls who have little autonomy—particularly those in forced marriages—
have little say about whether or when they become pregnant.

Related content

News
At only 19, Michelle Zeledón, from the north of Nicaragua, has been through a lot. She watched her father beat her mother, and endured years of his verbal abuse. “One time, during the Holy Week, my dad tried to kill my mother,” she told UNFPA.
News
RATANAKIRI, Cambodia – In the remote farming village of Sakreang, in Cambodia’s far north-east, Romam Pcheuk visits pregnant women in their homes. “I keep my eye on the girls who are pale, and those that get pregnant very young,” she explained.
News
Sara* was 17 when she found out she was pregnant. Living in a rural village in the Comoros, she carried the entire pregnancy in secret, and then gave birth in a hospital bathroom.

Pages