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My Age Zimbabwe: World Population Day 2016 Confession: Hear their Voices
World Population Day 2016: This year’s theme “Investing in teenage girls,” calls for action to address the enormous challenges faced by teenage girls across the world.
Of the 700 million women alive today who were married as children, more than one in three were married before they turned 15. As young brides, girls have to forgo their youth and adolescence years, as they take on family responsibilities. They are unable to negotiate safe sex practices and vulnerable to early pregnancy, contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Too many girls are denied the right to education and equal opportunities, keeping them in the cycle of poverty.
In 2015, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aiming to end poverty, combat inequalities and promote prosperity while protecting the environment by 2030. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development offers a real opportunity to drive lasting change for women’s rights and equality. Goal 5 on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls includes targets on ending all forms of violence and harmful practices against women and girls, including early and forced marriages. Turning the vision of the SDGs into reality starts with investing in girls.
The positive impact that empowered, informed teenage girls can have on their communities is unparalleled, and largely untapped. Alongside government and civil society partners, My Age Zimbabwe is working to break the barriers to leadership, participation and equal opportunities for girls and young women, including ending all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls.
Investing in and unlocking the potential of teenage girls and young women everywhere should be a top priority, so that they can pursue a world of equality: a Planet 50-50 by 2030.