Her Turn is about girls.
Her Turn is about girls.
Because by the time a girl turns 15, it’s already too late. By grade 8, she already has a 33% chance that she has dropped out of school. Already a 14% chance that she is married and if she is pregnant, she is five times more likely to die from medical complications. She might be one of 10,000-12,000 girls and women who get trafficked from Nepal to India every year.
Yet, across the world it has been shown that empowering and working with girls early means that these problems can be prevented before the damage is done. Studies show that educated and empowered girls receive better wages, have healthier and better educated children and families, develop their communities, and are less likely to experience domestic violence.
For more information about the issues of girls’ around the globe, and solutions, please visit our Learn More page.
We work in rural regions of Nepal where these issues are the girls’ realities – not just statistics. Where more girls were trafficked into Indian brothels than anywhere else in Nepal and where a girl’s education is not as important as her brother’s. Sindhupalchok and Gorkha districts lag behind other regions of Nepal in education and economy. Government schools are understaffed, under trained, and under funded, and are unable to equip these girls with the skills and resources they need to solve the realities of the issues they face.
Various risks and challenges were exacerbated by Nepal’s 2015 earthquakes. Most communities in the districts where we work were severely affected – many lost their family members, homes, livelihoods.
Studies show a correlation between girls’ educational levels and age at marriage: Higher median age at first marriage directly correlates with higher rates of girls in school. Conversely, getting and keeping girls in school may be one of the best ways to foster later, chosen marriage.
Girls who marry before age 18 are twice as likely to report being beaten, slapped, or threatened by their husbands as are girls who marry later.
In 2005, only 34.9 percent of women were literate in Nepal, compared to 62.7 percent of literate men.
High rates of female illiteracy hinder women’s access to information on their rights and on resources available to them. This is especially true for ethnic communities and low-caste women who have very little access to education.
There is a strong correlation between the age of the mother and maternal mortality and morbidity. Girls ages 10-14 are five times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than women aged 20-24. Girls ages 15-19 are twice as likely to die. The vast majority of these deaths take place within marriage.
It is estimated that between 10,000 and 12,000 girls and women are trafficked from Nepal every year. They often end up as domestic workers or are forced into prostitution in India and, increasingly China.
In Nepal, 20 is the minimum legal age for girls to marry. Yet 41% of girls marry before they turn 18. 11% of girls before the age of 19 gave birth.
Medical complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 49 in the developing countries.
Compared with women ages 20 to 24, girls ages 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls 15 to 19 are up to twice as likely.
Women make up more than 65 percent of the labour force employed in agriculture, but the majority of them are unpaid family workers. As such, their access to land is limited and they account for only 6 percent of total landowners with a combined share of 4 percent of arable land.
Recent amendments to the Country Code have improved women’s access to property. An unmarried daughter now has the right to ancestral property irrespective of age, while previous conditions required her to be above the age of 35. Women’s independent use of their property is still restricted, however, and they are often required to receive permission from a male relative before disposing of any immovable property.
Nepal on equality indices:
- Social Institutions and Gender Index: 65/102
- Gender Inequality Index: 110/138
- Gender Equity Index: 121/157
- Global Gender Gap Index: 115/134