#GirlDefenders

 “The strength of my resolve to champion the rights of young women and girls is far greater than any fear of challenging long-held cultural practices or beliefs. If we will not stand up for our human rights, who else will?”, said campaigner Sittie Mohamad of Al-Mujadilah Development Foundation, a women’s rights organization based in Lanao del Sur campaigning to end child marriage in the Philippines. (Photo was taken in March 2020, before the Covid-19 lockdown) Photo Credit: Vina Salazar/Oxfam
Girls have been given much reason to hope in the Philippines. This November, a historic first, the Senate unanimously approved the Girls Not Brides bill, which proposes to criminalize child marriage .
Tanumbay, 22, from Maguindanao got married at age 10 to a man 20 years older than her. ‘I didn’t want to marry, but I had no choice. It was my father’s wish before he died,’ she said. Tanumbay was 12 years old when she gave birth to her eldest son. Now, she has five children. Tanumbay never experienced going to school because of poverty. Photo: April Abello-Bulanadi/Oxfam
In the Philippines, poor sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of women and girls is a grave public health challenge: one in five girls is a mother by age 19, two-thirds of women are not using any form of birth control, and more than a third of women’s pregnancies are unwanted.
In a historic and unanimous vote among Senators, Senate Bill 1373, also known as the ‘Girls Not Brides Act’ has passed the third and final reading on Monday, November 9.
In time for the International Day of the Girl Child and a few weeks before the close of the second regular session of 18th Congress, more than 200 ‘Girl Defenders' joined an online grand solidarity rally organized by Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) , with...
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