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Behind the Numbers: Security, Stability, and the Afghan Economy

As Afghanistan looks toward its future, with a new president at the helm and the U.S. military presence drawing down, security remains among the country’s most daunting challenges going forward. Yet the growth of the country’s economy and political protections for Afghan women are also cause for concern for a large number of Afghans. In its tenth annual public opinion …

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Yazidi Slave Markets Just the Latest Atrocity in the Syrian Conflict

This week, reports of Yazidi women forced into marriage, raped, and sold as slaves to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters have spurred horror and outrage around the world. Human Rights Watch reports that these captives, some as young as ten or twelve, have been abducted from their families and been beaten into submitting to marriage to their …

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Women’s Achievements and Continued Challenges in Afghanistan

Early this summer, a group of congresswomen returned from a visit to Afghanistan. Their takeaway: “Women are now participants—and in many cases, leaders—in a society that once systematically subjugated them.” Indeed, women in Afghanistan have made great strides in recent years, but many challenges remain—especially in the face of imminent U.S. withdrawal from the country. A recent World Bank report, …

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Fragile States, Fragile Lives: Child Marriage Amid Disaster and Conflict

Weakened institutions, lack of economic opportunity, and increased occurrence of sexual violence and assault—already identified as drivers of child marriage—are exacerbated during armed conflict and natural disaster. In a recently released paper by the Council on Foreign Relations, titled “Fragile States, Fragile Lives: Child Marriage Amid Disaster and Conflict,” the Women and Foreign Policy program explores the relationship between child …

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Conditional Cash Keeps Girls in School

Keeping girls in school has become a priority for those fighting poverty around the globe, and for good reasons. Research shows that the longer a girl stays in school, the more likely she is to delay marriage and avoid early pregnancy. This means lower maternal and child mortality rates, fewer abortions, and improved child health. In addition, a 2011 World …

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Preference for Sons Hurts Mothers

For more than a century, cultural norms and traditions in India and elsewhere have favored sons over daughters—a preference based on age-old beliefs that male children add to household wealth, provide for parents and relatives in their old age, and carry the family name. Female children are viewed as financial burdens that add little value to the family and deplete …

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High Stakes for Young Lives: Examining Strategies to Stop Child Marriage

High Stakes for Young Lives: Examining Strategies to Stop Child Marriage By Gayle Lemmon & Lynn ElHarake We know the numbers: Each year, more than 14 million girls around the world will be married before they reach their eighteenth birthday. Broken down, that’s 38,461 girls a day, 27 every minute, or about one girl every two seconds, according to data …

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Education, Employment, and Youth Today

Last week, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released the eleventh edition of its Education for All Global Monitoring Report, an annual update that reviews the status of access to education around the world and highlights the crucial role that education plays in achieving development goals. This year’s report, titled “Teaching and Learning: Equality Achieved for All,” …

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Afghan Women and the Post-2014 Economy

As discussions about post-2014 U.S. presence in Afghanistan continue, so do concerns about the country’s ability to stand on its own. The Afghan people and their government will determine the direction of the country. And as that future is discussed, so is the question of what will happen to 50 percent of country’s population: women. When the Taliban came to …

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World Toilet Day and the Need for Clean Water

The fact that a global water crisis is underway is likely unfathomable to many people living in developed countries, where getting clean water is as easy as turning on a faucet. But for those living in developing countries, water insecurity is a very real threat. Although more than 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water, only 2.5 percent …

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