Maria was barely 16 when her father removed her from school to marry her off to a man 20 years older than she was just so that the family could receive eleven cows as her dowry.
It is a grim fact that prisoners in most countries suffer from poorer health than non-prisoners, and that their right to health is not always protected. But for certain groups these rights can be even more elusive. Such is the case for women.
So extreme are gender inequalities in South Sudan that a young girl is three times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than to reach the eighth grade – the last grade before high school – according to Plan International, one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world.
For 47-year-old Albert Mangwendere from Mutoko, a district 143 kilometres east of Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, transporting his three pregnant wives using a wheelbarrow to a local clinic has become routine, with his wives delivering babies one after the other.
Heightening their campaign to eradicate violence against women and girls, United Nations agencies and civil groups have called for increased action to end child marriage and female genital mutilation.
Radhika Thapa was just 16 years old when she married a 21-year-old boy three years ago. Now, she is expecting a baby and is well into the last months of her pregnancy. This is not the first time she has been with child – her first two pregnancies ended in miscarriages.
Bangladesh’s achievement in raising exclusive breastfeeding rates for infants under six months from 43 percent to 64 percent, over the last five years, is said to be the result of a determined campaign by government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Each year, 16 million girls aged 15-19 give birth. 50,000 of them die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. And 95 percent of those births occur in developing countries.
One year after the formation of South Sudan, the country’s women say that independence has not resulted in the positive political, economic and social changes that they had hoped for.
A young professional in India’s burgeoning IT hub Gurgaon, a major satellite city of national capital New Delhi, Manideepa Moitra works as a software content writer not just to make a living but to secure a career in the demanding sector that catapulted India on the global outsourcing industry map.