Forced marriage, child labour undermining girls’ health

ISLAMABAD: If Pakistan invests in 10-year-old girls today, it has the potential to receive high individual returns with the potential income of each woman increasing to $18,773 compared to the current $8,928, a significant increase which would have a far-reaching impact on the economy as well.

The observation was shared by Country Representative, UNFPA, Dr Hassan Mohtashami at the launch of ‘State of World Population Report 2016’ on Thursday. This year the theme of the report is ‘10: How our common future depends on a girl at this pivotal age’.

Sharing the key findings of the report Dr. Hassan Mohtashami said that in Pakistan, 35 per cent of the total population is aged 0-14 years, out of which 2 million are 10- year-old girls. The adolescent birth rate per 1,000 women aged 15-19 of 44 also depicts this loss of potential.

The Global Report highlights that currently, girls are less likely than boys to complete schooling and more likely to face forced marriage, child labour, female genital mutilation and other undermining practices. More than half of the world’s 60 million 10-year-old girls live in the 48 countries with the worst gender inequality. The report claims that $21 billion a year dividend for developing countries can be unlocked if all 10-year-old girls complete secondary education.

The report warns that forced marriage, child labour, female genital mutilation and other practices undermining girls’ health and rights threaten the world’s ambitious development agenda. Practices that harm girls and violate their human rights — starting at age 10 — prevent them from realising their full potential as adults and from contributing to the economic and social progress of their communities and nations. “Without their contribution, the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and its accompanying 17 Sustainable Development Goals may never be achieved,” says the report.

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