Empowering women and girls
The benefits of investing in girls and women are transformational. Given the opportunity girls living in poverty are uniquely capable of improving their lives and the lives of their families, communities and countries.
- Girls aged 10-14 are 5 times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than 20-24 year olds.
- With extra schooling girls can increase their wages by 10-20%. They have better maternal health, fewer and healthier children and greater economic opportunities.
We must take effective action that enables girls and women to fulfil their potential. Their empowerment has a huge effect on economic growth and achieving all of the MDGs.
Girls Decide Videos
Halimah was 17 when she made this film. This is the story of what happened when she first had unprotected sex: how she was ostracised by her family and thrown out of school, and how she felt that her future had been taken away.
Things looked bleak for Halimah but that’s not quite the end of the story...
In Bangladesh, 14 year old Hosna is to be married off by her parents. She’s frightened. She doesn't want to drop out of school, nor to lose the chance of a proper education and the prospects it brings.
This film shows how Hosna found the way to make the decision she wanted, not the decision her family sought to impose.
At 15, Layla was forced into marriage. She was beaten and raped by her husband’s brother. She fled from her home.
A kindly neighbour took her in. She helped her to move to another city. Only, she wasn’t the kindly help-mate Layla imagined...
Follow Nomvelo, a young Swazi woman born with HIV.
How does she discuss practicing safe sex with her boyfriend and what does she decide to tell him about her HIV status?
Follow Odeta, a young Albanian woman, as she finds out she has an unplanned pregnancy.
She has no idea what to do, where to go, or how to handle the situation with her family. She has to make a tough decision. So what happens next?
Valeria is 15. Her mother doesn’t want her to have a boyfriend. But she’s attracted to one of her brother’s friends and they have unprotected sex.
Soon after she’s faced with a tough decision. What would you do in her situation?
I Love Being A Girl Blog
I enjoy singing, chilling with the people I love and eating... I am a BIG foodie.
If I really stop to think about it, I started as small as 5 years old when I would get the most helpful certificate every year in school. But this really evolved in high school, selling newspapers for my key club that would then be used to purchase much needed items for children's homes all over.
In University, I became a peer leader for the premier leadership program UWILEADS; which had as a part of its function a Social Justice Programe that sought out ways in which both schools and communities could be engaged and people could become empowered.
Upon getting pregnant in 2011, the latter part of my second year of University studies, I had an extremely difficult time adjusting with what was to come not just physically but mentally as well and what started out as just a summer camp has now developed into being so much more. Not only did I give birth to a beautiful baby girl, but I also had the opportunity be a founding member of the only foundation of its kind in Jamaica; The I'm Glad I'm A Girl Foundation .
Our target was to empower girls who are currently in the most defining moments of their lives - puberty - and by way of doing that, not only empower them but help them to empower their friends and families.
This foundation has redefined me and has really put into focus what I believe in. It has also afforded me the opportunity to travel and not only speak about Jamaica and what we are doing there but to also share best practices with other regions so that they too can help to uplift this vulnerable group. Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Conflict Resolution, Financial Literacy and Career Planning are all things that are needed to help to cultivate the world that we want to see.
I firmly believe that if you develop a girl, you develop a nation and as such I try to share my passion with anyone who will listen.
As an Emerging Leader with IPPF and the youth advisor for the Global Coalition on Women and Aids, I see myself being able to give a voice to the voiceless and to help others find their voice along the way and it is a responsibility that I honor with pride.
The world would be a much better place if everybody would:
- See The Man with One Red Shoe with Tom Hanks and The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Adichie
- Listen to Jill Scott and learn about the fat back...
- Read Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
- Try zip-lining (it's amazing!) and following their gut
Guides and publications
No one should make you feel bad or discriminate against you because of your HIV status. Do you know your rights and where to turn for help if needed?
Sometimes disclosing your status means talking about a secret that you or your partner has been keeping from each other, like previous relationships, drug use or accepting money for sex.
A healthy, happy and fulfilling relationship with someone else starts with you. Take time to build your self-esteem, deal with your own feelings about your HIV-status, and think about what qualities you value in a partner and relationship.
Nearly everyone knows someone who has faced an unplanned pregnancy. But due to stigma and secrecy, the issue is not discussed openly. Who would you talk to if you needed help?
Finding information online can be confusing. Many young women don’t know they have the right to access a legal abortion.
These stories are based on real experiences of young women from all over the world, from telling their partners and families, to considering the options and seeking an abortion service.
Sexual rights are human rights. Young people are sexual beings with needs, desires and fantasies.
Young people must be able to explore, experience and express their sexuality. They are entitled to do this in positive, pleasurable and safe ways.
To secure young people's sexual rights we must understand how human rights apply to young people's sexuality.
Less than 2c of every $1 spent on international development is directed specifically towards adolescent girls.
We must invest in programmes and services that create choices and opportunities for girls. A positive attitude towards sexuality, sexual behaviour and reproduction, improves the well-being and development of girls and young women.
The choices that are open to any person are affected by 4 dimensions: options, aspirations, expectations and agency. Positive approaches try to expand and enrich each of these areas.
Early and forced marriage Videos
In Bangladesh more than 60% of young women are married before they turn 18.
This film follows Nipa, who was forced into marriage as a schoolgirl. Why? She brought shame on her family by talking to a boy.
This film follows Kushboo, born into a poor family and a survivor of early and forced marriage.
The effects are crippling for the victims, who are not emotionally or physically ready for marriage or children.
Early and forced marriage has terrible consequences for girls and young women.
This film follows the story of Ashmita, a survivor of early marriage and forced to give up her education at a young age.