Kimberly Armengol – Girls of the World

Last Tuesday was the International Day of the Girl. It’s been ten years since we promoted this date, which aims to make girls and adolescents visible and reverse inequality and the gender gap.

MARRIAGES AND PREGNANCY

One of the biggest issues affecting girls and adolescents in Mexico is marriage and early pregnancy. Every fifth woman in our country enters into a marriage union before turning 18. 50% of these little girls live in poverty and 70% do not go to school and do unpaid domestic work.

Although child marriage is prohibited at the federal level, the obstacle is not sufficient in cases where it is seen as a source of family income or conforms to the usages and customs of the population.

Most of these marriages are nothing more than an economic transaction for the family, in many cases a simple barter, their daughter for a few pigs, sheep or chickens. And for the juvenile escape route from domestic violence, poverty and slavery.

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of girls under 18 who enter a formal or informal union do not do so with a partner their own age, but mostly with men over 25.

Yes, they are girls who join adults in an apparently unequal relationship in which economic violence is constant. They are girls who are most likely to drop out of school, become pregnant early and repeat the cycle of marginalization and poverty.

And it’s not just marriage, 15% of girls who became mothers were the product of rape, incest or coercion. Patterns that reproduce in conditions of extreme poverty, gender inequalities and sexual violence.

These young women have no choice or access to opportunities, education or minimal knowledge of their rights.

According to the organization Save the Children in Latin America, every year about two million girls under the age of 15 become pregnant, and their mortality rate is 50% higher than among those who have children when they reach adulthood.

In Mexico, 98% of these cases occur in children under 14 years of age and are more common in the marginalized areas of Chiapas, Tabasco, Coahuila and Guerrero, especially in predominantly indigenous communities.

TRAFFICKING AND FEMICIDE

But the threats to girls and adolescents do not stop there, there are even others that are much more serious and threaten their integrity even more, including their lives, such as human trafficking and murders of girls and adolescents.

Data from the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (NSPSS) reveal that between January and May 2022, of the total number of children under 17 (167) who became victims of trafficking, girls and adolescents (131) accounted for 78.44 the percentage

This is truly outrageous and alarming, especially in a country where the follow-up of these cases is practically nil.

Unfortunately, the murders of girls and teenagers continue to be a scandalous reality. The SESNSP itself reveals that from January to May 2022, 49 girls and teenagers were victims of this crime in our country.

There are no words that can express, no adjectives that are sufficient to describe a country that does not care for its girls and boys while watching them kill and crush their rights.

SOLUTIONS?

Banning child marriage at the national level is a fundamental and big step that the Mexican state has taken, now it is necessary to provide education and opportunities for girls from these marginalized communities where marriage and domestic work are the only options they rely on. Until all rights reach everyone, we must continue the struggle!

The fight must not be based only on their legal protection, we must also work within families to eradicate machismo and inequality in the upbringing of girls and boys, as discriminatory practices still prevail in homes.

Gender equality in Mexico is a struggle that began decades ago, but we are far from achieving conditions that favor it naturally, not through so-called gender quotas.

Hopefully, in the near future, girls and adolescents can live in a country where being a woman is not a risk or a sentence of exclusion.

POST MAGAZINE

it’s sad to see Alone believing he was the president.

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