The UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) estimates that 12 million girls under the age of 18 are married off. Child marriage is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that around 4 million girls are subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) every year. FGM is most common in the western, eastern and northeastern parts of Africa.
Harmful practices are deeply rooted in social conditions, such as inequality and poverty, and are entwined in culture and tradition. In countries where harmful practices are common, women and girls are considered to have lower cultural and economic value than men and boys. This is the reason for gender-selective abortion, the practice of aborting female foetuses. In many countries, this practice has resulted in a significant shortage of women. This year, Norway is supporting the UN’s work to combat gender-selective abortion for the first time.
Norway will provide a total of NOK 110 million to the UN’s efforts to combat harmful practices in 2019. This funding will be used to prevent child marriage, female genital mutilation and gender-selective abortion (son preference). This is the first time that Norway is supporting efforts to end gender-selective abortion. Norway is also supporting the efforts of NGOs to end harmful practices.
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