Women & Girls are at the Center
of RET Strategy!
Protecting, supporting, and enabling women and girls to become more resilient, reach their full potential and lead their own development journey,
while inspiring entire communities.
Numbers at A Glance
- Globally, 750 million women and girls were married before the age of 18, and at least 200 million women and girls in 30 countries have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
- 33,000 girls become child brides every day (Where it happens – Girls Not Brides).
- One in five women and girls, including 19 percent of women and girls aged 15 to 49, have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner within the last 12 months. Yet, 49 countries have no laws that specifically protect women from such violence.
RET’s programs are concerned with young people in general. However, by working consistently with vulnerable young women and mothers, our programs respond to pressing needs and have a more significant impact and effectiveness. Young women and mothers are amongst the most vulnerable in crises but are also often heads of households and play essential roles in the lives of children, youth, and the family unit.
Though girls and boys face similar challenges in early childhood, gender disparities become more pronounced in adolescence (10-19 years of age), a crucial period when boys’ and girls’ attitudes about gender develop and gender norms consolidate. A person’s gender still significantly affects their opportunities and achievements. Due to expected gender roles, girls may also face a disproportionate burden of domestic work, expectations to be married, risks of early pregnancy, and sexual and gender-based violence. The social, economic, and cultural development of societies has created different gender roles, which are advantageous to men and detrimental to women. This gap widens in fragile contexts, as evidence shows that masculinities and femininities are heightened during a crisis. Also, when widespread violence in communities rises, there is a notable increase in gender-based violence. The use of rape as a weapon or forced early marriages are among the most notorious examples. Therefore, focusing on young women, adolescent mothers, women heads of households, and young widows is vital in addressing the most pressing needs.
However, focusing on women goes beyond this question of vulnerability; it is also an issue of impact and effectiveness. Targeting young women has a far-reaching positive impact. Women are often at the heart of the family, influence children’s education, and play essential roles in health, nutrition, household management, and can have a direct role in generating income. The more education and capacity a woman have, the better the opportunities for the entire family. The impact of working to protect and build the self-reliance of young women through multi-sectoral interventions is therefore extremely positive.
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