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In a Pandemic Year, Some Good News for Children–10 Points of Progress in 2020

By Jo Becker, Children’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch

 

 

This year has been devastating for children. The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the education of 1.5 billion students, pushed an estimated 150 million additional children into poverty, left many without caregivers, and increased child laborchild marriage, and violence in the home.

But despite the enormous hardships, the year has also brought some good news for kids. As we finish the year, here are 10 areas of progress from 2020:

  1. Greece ended its longstanding practice of detaining unaccompanied migrant children in jail cells.
  2. Both Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe committed to ending the exclusion of pregnant girls and teenage mothers from school.
  3. The US states of Minnesota and Pennsylvania both enacted laws to ban all child marriage before age 18.
  4. Five more countries – Estonia, Malawi, Seychelles, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda – committed to protecting schools during armed conflict by endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration, bringing the total to 106 endorsers.
  5. hospital in Chicago pledged to become the first in the United States to stop performing medically unnecessary surgeries on children born with intersex traits.
  6. FIFA imposed a lifetime ban on the Haitian soccer federation president for systematic sexual abuse against female players, including girls.
  7. South Sudan signed a comprehensive action plan to end violations against children in armed conflict.
  8. Saudi Arabia announced that it would end executions of offenders for crimes committed before the age of 18.
  9. Japan and Seychelles banned all corporal punishment of children, bringing the global total of countries with a comprehensive ban to 60.
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Mother’s Day Special from a 13-Year-Old Girl: Why 13-Year-Olds Shouldn’t Be Married

 

Written by 13-year-old Kiran Kochar McCabe, this piece was originally published in the Huffington Post on May 11, 2015.

Did you know that by the time you finish reading this article, about 52 girls under the age of 18 will have just been married?

Consider these facts. One-third of girls in the developing world are married before they turn 18. In Niger, a country in West Africa, more than half of girls under 18 are married. If I lived there, I would likely be married with children celebrating me on Mother’s Day, rather than me thinking about what gift to give my mom.

I started learning about the difficulties girls face around the world at a young age when I became involved with the global poverty-fighting organization CARE. Since the age of 7, I’ve attended CARE’s advocacy conference each year in our nation’s capital, along with hundreds of other passionate volunteers. During the conference, I visit my members of Congress to tell them why investing in a girl’s education and empowerment is important.

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10 Stats about Women and Girls on International Women’s Day 2019, March 8, 2019

  • Of the 152 million children trapped in child labor, 64 million are girls [source].
  • 73 million children are trapped in hazardous child labor—27.8 million are girls.
  • 29 million women and girls are in modern slavery—71 percent of the overall total of enslaved individuals [source].
  • Women represent 99.4 percent of the victims of forced labor in the commercial sex industry [source].
  • Women and girls represent 84 percent of the victims of forced marriages, now categorized as a form of modern slavery [source]. There are an estimated 15 million individuals in forced marriages.
  • Worldwide, there are an estimated 67 million domestic workers—3/4 are women [source].
  • 132 million girls were out of school in 2016 [source].
  • 9 in 10 girls complete their primary education, but only 3 in 4 complete their lower secondary education [source].
  • In low-income countries, less than 2/3 of girls complete their primary education [source].
  • 42 million people have fled their homes because of armed conflicts; 50 percent are women; 10 million are estimated to be girls and young women. [source]
  • In 2017, there were an estimated 68.5 million forcibly displaced people, including 25.4 million refugees—half are women and girls. [source]
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