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International Partnerships

Ending harmful practices

The EU is taking action to ensure girl’s and women’s physical and psychological integrity.

In many countries, social norms and practices lock girls and women into unequal power relations, leaving many girls and women with little control over decisions that affect their lives.

Harmful practices continue to damage girls and women. Every single day 37 000 girls become child brides, this represents 14 million child marriages a year.

Harmful practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) continue to exist; more than 125 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM in Africa and the Middle East.

Practices that favour sons lead to a worrying trend of "missing girls".

Some 222 million women in the world have no control over their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and worldwide about 130 women die from complications of unsafe abortion every day

The EU continues investing in efforts to allow girls and women the choice and control over decisions that affect their mental and physical wellbeing, and to support survivors and their communities to overcome violations and prevent their reoccurrence.

Fighting child marriage

Ending child, early and forced marriages is essential to allow girls the opportunity for a better life and to realise their full potential.

Engaging and informing potential child brides is a first step towards empowering girls. Providing them with life skills, promoting their self-esteem and helping them remain in school is key to strengthening girls’ capacity to refuse forced marriages.

Parents, community members and religious leaders are the main decision-makers on child marriage and engaging them on the consequences of child marriage and the importance of education can change the views of these key actors in opting out of forced marriage.

Involving young people as advocates for ending early marriage and reaching a wider community can accelerate change and lead to stronger laws and law enforcement that protect adolescents.

Fighting female genital mutilation

Despite being internationally recognised as a human rights violation, FGM has been performed on more than 200 million girls and women alive today. The practice occurs in 30 countries across three continents, with half of those cut living in Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia. The practice can also be found within communities from countries in which FGM is common.

Although Islam or Christianity do not endorse FGM, religious narratives are used to justify the practice. Here again, the role of information and dialogue within the community is key to put a stop to this harmful practice.

We are working together with our partners to end FGM by 2030. To do so, we work hand in hand with our partners to target local communities, empower young girls, strengthen child protection systems, better coordinate local and national responses to FGM.

Spotlight initiative

The Initiative is so named as it brings focused attention to this issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Spotlight Initiative focuses efforts in distinct areas, including sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, domestic violence and femicide, that serve as entry points to address the continuum of violence against women and girls.