Upholding the human rights of adolescent girls
Because discrimination on the basis of sex often starts at the earliest stages of life, UNFPA gives special attention to upholding the human rights of adolescent girls.
Social expectations often put pressure on girls to marry and begin bearing children before they are ready. Too-early marriage can rob girls of their childhood, jeopardize their health, and limits their opportunities. It usually disrupts their education and often violates their human rights.
When young girls marry older men, they may be at additional risk of contracting HIV, yet they often find it difficult to access sexual or reproductive health services. Adolescent girls are often exposed to various forms of gender-based violence, including traditional practices such as female genital mutilation/cutting. Dire poverty may result in young girls being 'sold' to traffickers or being forced into sexual relations as a survival strategy.
UNFPA is committed to ensuring that adolescent girls are able to enjoy the same rights and opportunities as boys. It recognizes that girls’ education is a powerful lever for their empowerment, as well as for reducing intergenerational cycles of poverty.
- Marrying Too Young: End Child Marriage
- The Case for Investing in Young People as part of a National Poverty Reduction Strategy
- Investing when it Counts: Generating the Evidence Base for Policies and Programmes for Very Young Adolescents
- UN Joint Statement on Adolescent Girls
News and Features
- Escaping Child Marriage in Ethiopia
- Sharper Focus Needed on Young Adolescent Girls
- Six UN Agencies Call for Intensified Efforts to Help
- Kindling hope in Ethiopia to Keep Adolescent Girls in School