BOGOTA – Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean lag behind boys in virtually all measures of well-being, according to a report released Thursday by Unicef to mark the International Day of the Girl Child.
While acknowledging advances in girls’ quality of life, the document expresses “deep concern about the situation of girls in the region, particularly adolescents.”
“Discrimination, early marriage and pregnancy, gender violence, domestic labor, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, lack of access to health care and limited educational opportunities” are among the major problems, said Bernt Aasen, the Unicef Regional Director for Latin America and Caribbean.
All Latin American and Caribbean countries ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the report said, pointing out that ratification entails obligations for governments.
Except in access to secondary and higher education, areas where females outnumber males, Latin American and Caribbean girls lag behind boys in survival rates and early childhood development, which are closely connected with poverty levels.
Teen mothers account for nearly 20 percent of births in Latin America and the Caribbean.