Young people aged 15-24 make up a quarter of sexually active individuals, yet they comprise half of new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) infections each year.
The United Nations, which has remained focused on the world's political and military hotspots, has turned its attention to the bigger socioeconomic issues facing adolescents and youth, including poverty, sexual abuse, female genital mutilation and lack of reproductive health care.
Increasing numbers of Malian women are being raped by Tuareg rebels and armed groups that have swept across the north of Mali since the beginning of year, expelling all government troops from the region.
It was personal experience that turned Gul Bano and her cleric husband, Ahmed Khan, into ambassadors against early marriage and its worst corollary – obstetric fistula which allows excretory matter to flow out through the birth canal.
Agnes Torres, a transsexual psychologist and gay rights activist, left her home in the central Mexican state of Puebla on her way to a party. The next day, her body was found in a gully, naked from the waist down. Her throat had been slit.
Teenage pregnancies are on the rise in Guatemala, along with the drop-out rate in schools, family breakdown and many other related social ills.
Though United Nations experts agree that governments should focus on empowering girls and women as a key to managing a world of seven billion people, not enough is being done for women’s rights in developing countries, aid advocates say.
A multi-pronged strategy to end female genital mutilation in Mauritania is making gradual progress, though campaigners acknowledge much remains to be done in a country where more than two-thirds of girls suffer excision.
"There were three people. One person was holding me down; one person was holding my hand; and the other person was doing the job. They lay me down, and…" Fatu said of the female genital mutilation she underwent as an eight- year-old in Liberia.
Dozens of bodies bludgeoned to death pop up in Baghdad’s dusty streets like the remains of a wreckage on a beach. They are the corpses of homosexuals and followers of the ‘emo’ fashion who dare to break with the strict canons of the Shia orthodoxy in power.
"I would like to use contraception, but my husband is against it," says Bintou Moussa*. The 32-year-old mother has just given birth to her sixth child at the Abobo General Hospital in Cote d’Ivoire’s commercial capital Abidjan.
As many as seven in 10 women in the world report experiencing physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime, leaving a devastating aftermath for individuals, communities and nations.
For over 90 years, a law in Argentina has allowed women who become pregnant as a result of rape to have an abortion. However, hospitals often refuse to carry out the procedure, instead referring the women to the justice system.
In its less than two months in office, Spain’s new conservative government has begun to introduce sweeping educational and reproductive health reforms, prompting protests from the opposition and from civil society groups, which see them as a throwback to an earlier era.
The state of Rio de Janeiro in southeast Brazil will introduce a pioneering policy in March to reduce the under-reporting of crimes against transvestites and transsexual people, who will be able to identify themselves with their preferred names when they report crimes to the police.