Need for education

File Name: 0005.FEM

  Msg#: 626                                          Date: 05-26-98  04:09
  From: Grant Karpik                                 Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: Need for education
@MSGID: 1:153/831.2 56a77a27
@PID: timEd 1.10.y2k
/** ips.english: 483.0 **/
** Topic: HEALTH: Young Women Need More Education, Health Services ** **
Written  4:07 PM  May 17, 1998 by newsdesk in cdp:ips.english **
       Copyright 1998 InterPress Service, all rights reserved.
          Worldwide distribution via the APC networks.

                      *** 14-May-98 ***

Title: HEALTH: Young Women Need More Education, Health Services

/ATT EDITORS: The following item is EMBARGOED and may not be
reprinted or used in any way before 0001 GMT Friday, May 15/

WASHINGTON, May 15 (IPS) - The more than 540 million women between 
the ages of 10 and 19 who make up the world's next generation of 
mothers, workers and leaders urgently need greater access to 
education and reproductive health services, according to a new 

Those services should be provided to young women, regardless of 
their marital or child-bearing status, says the U.S.-based Alan 
Guttmacher Institute, which released its report Friday to mark 
International Day of Families.

''Parents, communities and governments must recognise how quickly 
the world is changing and how imperative it is to direct attention 
to improving the situation of girls and young women,'' said the 
Institute's president, Jeannie Rosoff.

''Indifference, wishful thinking and denial will not prepare their 
children, particularly their girls, to take their rightful place in 
a modernising world,'' she added.

The report, 'Into a New World: Young Women's Sexual and 
Reproductive Lives,' is based on data gathered in 53 rich and poor 
countries which together are home to roughly 75 percent of the 
world's population.

It finds that up to 60 percent of adolescent births worldwide are 
unplanned, about one in nine adolescents lack the contraceptive 
protection they need to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, and between 
one-third and two-thirds of young women obtain less than seven 
years of schooling in most poor countries.

While more young women today receive a basic education than did 
their mothers, girls still have less access to schooling in many 
developing countries than do boys. That is especially the case in 
the rural areas of Latin America, Africa, and Asia, where 
educational disparities are greatest.

The gap between boys and girls at the secondary level is also 
great, but particularly common throughout North Africa, the Middle 
East and sub-Saharan Africa - where half the countries studied 
showed six or fewer young women attend secondary school for every 
ten young men.

The report also finds that in much of the world, most women have 
their first sexual experience as adolescents. In Sub-Saharan 
Africa, for example, about 80 percent of all young women have had 
their first intercourse before the age of 20, and four out of ten 
before marriage. In Latin America and the Caribbean, six in ten 
have had intercourse before 20, and three in ten before marriage.

While levels of marriage generally have declined from the last 
generation, adolescent marriage remains common in some regions.  
The report highlights Africa, where about half of adolescent women 
marry by age 18, and India and Bangladesh, where the comparable 
figure is about 60 percent. That compares with only five percent in 

Contraceptive use by married and unmarried adolescents has reached 
unprecedented levels but remains low when compared with demand, 
according to the report. Most women have heard about modern 
contraceptive methods, but many women either lack the ability to 
obtain them and information about how to use them, or simply forgo 
their use because they are expected to have a child soon after 

In addition, many contraceptive services in poor countries are 
geared more to older women and fail to provide privacy and 
confidentiality to adolescents, particularly if they are single.

Worldwide, 11 percent of adolescent women - about 29 million - are 
sexually active and prefer not to have a child soon. But they lack 
modern contraceptive services. Contraception among married 
adolescents is less than five percent in India and Pakistan, the 
report says.

Adolescent child-bearing is declining in many countries, especially 
those where access to education for girls and young women has 
increased and the health and economic advantages of delaying births 
has become more widely recognised, researchers found.

Still, more than 14 million women under the age of 18 give birth 
each year, ranging from one percent of adolescent women in Japan to 
53 percent in Niger. Many births to adolescent women are unplanned 
- from as few as 15 percent in some Arab countries to as much as 60 
percent in such countries as the Philippines, Kenya, Ghana, and 
Zimbabwe, and 70 percent in the United States.

Women who have their first child before age 18 in most developing 
countries will bear an average of seven children in their lifetime. 
Women who wait until their early 20s will average five or six 
children, and those who delay until their late 20s typically will 
have only three or four, according to the Institute.

On a global level, those differences are highly significant. If 
today's young women were to have their first child five years later 
than the current average age at first birth, the world population 
in 2100 would be 20 percent lower - or 1.2 billion people fewer - 
than would otherwise be the case, the report says.

Moreover, sexually active adolescents face risks including unwanted 
pregnancy, unsafe abortions and sexually transmitted diseases 
(STDs), such as HIV and AIDS, that can threaten their health and 
future fertility. Young adolescents generally are more likely to 
experience premature labour, spontaneous abortion and stillbirths 
than are older women, and they are up to four times as likely as 
women older than 20 to die from pregnancy-related causes, according 
to researchers.

Adolescents frequently make a large proportion of patients who are 
hospitalised for complications arising from abortion, particularly 
in countries where the procedure is difficult to obtain or legally 

Sexual abuse and cultural practices such as female genital 
mutilation, also endanger the physical and mental health of girls 
and young women.

About 40 percent of women who reported having sex before the age of 
15 say their first sexual experience was involuntary.  


End cross-post

                   Grant {Internet:}

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