Making some simple, basic changes in education policy can result in many more girls attending school, experts said at a meeting here this week on Gender Equality in Education.

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Men have "aided and abetted" the continuation of child marriage, a practice that affects the lives of millions of girls a year, Desmond Tutu said on Tuesday.

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"Please God, make my breasts disappear." Joyce Forghab used to pray the same line every night during the month she was suffering from breast ironing. The shocking practice, carried out by a quarter of mothers in Cameroon, is meant to reverse female sexual development.

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With evidence showing that disparities in education widen as girls grow, the United Nations today kicked off a two-day meeting in Paris devoted to gender inequality in classroom achievement and on women’s leadership role in education.

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The United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) today announced USD 17.1 million in grants to 22 initiatives in 34 countries, including, for the first time, Iraq and South Sudan.

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For a brief media-saturated minute, child marriage took center stage earlier this summer when then 16-year-old Courtney Stodden and 51-year-old "Lost" actor Doug Hutchison announced they had wed. Though many expressed shock, Stodden is not alone; according to a 2002 report from the Centers for Disease Control, some 6 percent of American women have entered into their first marriage by age 18. Now, researchers are taking a hard look at such arrangements, conducting one of the first studies to consider their possible mental health effects.

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Akosua* is 16 years old. Her mother passed away, and she lives with her grandmother in Ajumako District in Ghana. Her school uniform is patched. She wears slippers to school. Akosua’s classmates began taunting her about her appearance, pressuring her to have sex with a man in her community in exchange for money and clothes. The harsh words hurt her feelings, but didn’t break her spirit.

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At Ifo trading centre, a short distance from northeastern Kenya's Dadaab refugee complex, Hawa*, a teenage girl, sits in a dark room on an old jerry can holding a small bunch of fresh khat, a mild stimulant, ostensibly for sale.

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This past June, the National Popular Assembly (ANP) of Guinea-Bissau approved a law prohibiting female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) nationwide. The controversial law had been on the table for discussion for 16 years, before it was ultimately approved by 64 votes in favour to 1 vote against.

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Every citizen especially the vulnerable groups are supposed to feel secure whenever they see a member of the security forces, but the situation here in Zimbabwe sees the reverse occurring.

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