Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It’s an important moment to recognize that violence against girls is both a human rights issue and a barrier to girls attending school and learning.
Violence against women and girls is a global issue, and it’s estimated that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence at some point in their lives.
When girls are forced into early marriage or affected by school-related gender-based violence, such as sexual or physical violence on the journey to, or at school, the harmful effects can be life-long. Girls married young and exposed to violence are at increased risk of dropping out of school or failing to learn, severely curtailing their future prospects to achieve their full potential in life.
Yet it is estimated that more than 240 million girls and boys are affected by school-related gender-based violence each year. Outside of school, 1 in 5 girls around the world is set to be married before the age of 18.
The personal and psychological costs of this violence are borne by girls themselves, and new research supported by GPE this week shows that through its impact on girls’ education, child marriage is also costing 12 African countries $63 billion in lost earnings and human capital wealth.