Secretary Clinton Launches New Public and Private Initiatives To Raise the Status of Girls

October 11, 2012 • Daily Email Recap

Press Release – United States Department of State


On the eve of the inaugural International Day of the Girl Child, Secretary Clinton today convened a meeting with leaders in government and the private sector, including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chair of The Elders, to discuss their shared commitment to improving the lives of girls worldwide. Following the meeting, the Secretary announced new U.S. Government and private initiatives to prevent child marriage and promote girls’ education around the world.

Child Marriage. Every year, 10 million girls, most living in poor and rural communities, will be married before their 18th birthdays. Early and forced marriage robs girls of opportunities to build better lives through education and skilled work, threatens their health and traps them into lives of poverty. The Secretary announced the following to address this threat to girls and global development:

  • Mandatory Reporting in Human Rights Reports. Beginning with the 2012 reports, the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practice will track every country’s legal minimum age of marriage and the rate of marriage for girls and boys under age 18. Through these reports, submitted every year to the U.S. Congress, the State Department evaluates all United Nations member states’ adherence to internationally-recognized individual, civil, political and worker rights. By strengthening reporting on this issue, the United States signals to countries that child marriage is a threat to the fundamental human rights of girls and women.
  • Strengthening U.S. Capacity to Assist Citizens Threatened with Child Marriage. The State Department will provide more robust guidance and training for all consular staff in U.S. embassies so that they can be better equipped to respond to cases where U.S. citizens may be forced into child marriage abroad.
  • Tackling Child Marriage in Bangladesh. Working with Bangladesh’s Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will support a pilot program to test approaches to address the issue of child marriage – including those based on health care, education, and legal rights. The program will also enlist religious authorities, media, local governments and NGOs, to promote community sensitization to the issue.

Click here to read the full press release:

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