Sex workers, child brides, rubbish pickers – this is the reality for hundreds and thousands of girls throughout Asia. Without the opportunity to attend school, seek support and counseling, and have a choice in the decisions that most impact their lives, many girls find themselves powerless, voiceless, and trapped in poverty.
“We have spent most of our lives in the shadows,” explains Kiran (17) from Jharkand, India.
While conditions are improving in many parts of the world, the reality for teenage girls and young women, particularly in developing countries, remains disturbing.
One in five adolescent girls worldwide are out of school (UNESCO 2015) and 35% of women have experienced some form of sexual or physical violence (WHO 2013). If the prevalence of child marriage continues at this rate, it is estimated that 140 million girls will be married by 2020 (UNFPA 2013).
Determined to change these statistics, meet the teenage girls from around Asia and the Pacific who are challenging the norms around gender-based discrimination and human rights. They are advocating for girls’ rights and gender equality, committed to creating a better future for women and girls worldwide.
These girls have become young female role models and activists in their own communities, using their own personal stories and struggles to set an example and demonstrate that change can happen anytime, anywhere.