Today marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, a day for celebrating and honoring the achievements of all women, past and present. We would also like to take the opportunity on International Women’s Day to focus on how we can improve the lives of girls and adolescents, who are the women of our future.
The global population of females ages 10-24 is currently the largest in history and is expected to peak in the next decade; over 600 million girls currently live in developing countries. One out of seven girls in developing countries is married before age 15, and 38 percent are married before age 18. Approximately 16 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 give birth each year, accounting for 11% of all births worldwide. Between one-quarter and one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18. Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls. It is estimated that one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school. Adolescent girls who are married or become pregnant are more likely than their peers to drop out of school.
Young girls are future mothers and leaders, yet they face a multitude of challenges. Promoting girls’ education and enabling young women to postpone childbirth results in healthier families, leads to higher incomes among females, and gives girls a brighter future. So this International Women’s Day, let’s not forget our “future women.” Let’s do all we can to ensure that young women across the globe stay in school longer, delay pregnancy and marriage, and receive greater opportunities.
- Watch the Girl Effect video:
- Learn how reproductive health care is changing the lives of millions of girls and women on Pathfinder International’s Web site.
- Host an International Women’s Day party.
- Encourage young women to take the Girl Scouts’ “The Power of Girls Pledge.”
- Leave a comment! Let us know how you are celebrating International Women’s Day and what you can do to help girls and young women around the world.