Adolescence is a critical period when a girl's future potential and opportunities can flourish through education, economic opportunities, and psycho-social support. Governments must invest in programs and develop policies that allow girls to thrive, and end the persistent violence and discrimination that exists in many countries.
Today's generation of adolescents is the largest ever — there are 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 19 alive today. To protect their health and rights, young people need evidence based, accurate information about their sexual and reproductive health, as well as support and skills to feel comfortable and confident about their bodies and their sexuality.
Every year, an estimated 14 million girls are married before they turn 18. Child marriage is a global problem that cuts across countries, cultures, religions, and ethnicities. It robs girls of their childhood and denies them their rights to health, to live in security, and to choose when and whom they marry.
Even though abortion is legal in almost all countries to save a woman's life, safe abortion services are often not provided by public health systems or are of poor quality. This results in an estimated 20 million unsafe abortions worldwide. Women in developing countries risk dying from unsafe procedures or suffering other adverse health consequences.