girl summit
Co-hosted by UNICEF and the UK government, Girl Summit 2014, held on July 22 marked the first international conference dedicated to eradicating forced child marriage and forced genital mutilation.

Speakers at the Girl Summit 2014 included Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development and Theresa May, the Home Secretary.

A statistic released by the U.N. claims, according to The Telegraph, that around “125 million women and girls worldwide have been cut—and that at least 30 million more will be at risk over the next decade.” This mutilation is used as a means to make sure young girls remain “controlled and disempowered.” The consequences of this process include increased risk for illness and increased pain and mortality rates for mothers during childbirth.

Moreover, approximately one-third of female children in developing countries are married by the time they are 18. The Girl Summit Pledge website asserts that some girls who are forced into marriage “are as young as eight. Girls who marry young have babies while still children, putting them at risk of death or suffering for the rest of their lives. They are more likely to be poor and stay poor.” The ultimate goal of the Girl Summit 2014, therefore, is to more actively publicize and strengthen the worldwide community against these horrendous types of child abuse.

David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK, declared that efforts to eradicate forced female genital mutilation and forced child marriage would be, according to The Telegraph, “at the top of Britain’s aid agenda” and he will endeavor to ensure these changes will take place “within a generation.”

The Girl Summit 2014 is also seeking to continue the movement beyond the conference through generating a large and sustained social media following. The Girl Summit is looking for people to pledge their support through their Facebook page and through twitter by using #GirlSummit.

– Jordyn Horowitz

Sources: The Telegraph, GOV.UK, Girl Summit 2014
Photo: GOV.UK