20111208 Because they are Girls

The United Nations General Assembly in 1999 designated 25 November as International

Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The 16 days of activism against gender

violence starts from November 25 and ends on December 10 – International Human Rights Day.

These dates symbolically link violence against women and human rights, and emphasise that

such violence is a human rights violation. I think, all over the world girls are treated as ‘girls’.

That is why they face discrimination and violence against themselves, experience disadvantages

since they are in the lap. Their human rights are inhumanely denied. But boys are treated as

‘human beings’, so they can realise their due human rights and even they enjoy many advantages

for being boys starting from their very infancy!

The UNFPA expressed concern over the high rate of early marriage in Bangladesh because it

increases child and maternal mortality rates, contributes to population growth, and creates

problems of gender discrimination and violence. UNFPA Executive Director Dr Babatunde

Osotimehin said, "When girls are married off at early ages, they are not allowed to develop and

reach their full potentials. They are also deprived of their ability to contribute to the society."

Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey, 2007 mentioned that fifty percent of the girls are

married before the age of 16. This rate has remained the same in the last 35 years. So UNFPA

has urged to increase investment in girls’ education. According to the UN body, population

growth is a challenge for the world. "If the population growth is faster than a country’s economic

growth, poverty will persist." cont...