Empowered girls can change the world, say UNFPA head and Ashley Judd

28 September 2015

The most vulnerable are adolescent girls. Adolescent girls get married early too often in many parts of the world. Sometimes they’re not even counted,” said Dr. Osotimehin. “They have children too early, and sometimes they die too early

Young people are an engine for progress, but their potential future will go unfulfilled if they are not empowered, said UNFPA Executive Dr. Director Babatunde Osotimehin and actress and activist Ashley Judd, at the Social Good Summit held yesterday in New York.

The Social Good Summit, through livestreamed panel discussions and community meet-ups around the world, engages activists to discuss solutions to global challenges. Dr. Osotimehin and Ms. Judd tackled the issue of empowering youth to change the world.

There are 1.8 million young people between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the latest State of World Population report. “This is the largest cohort of young people in the history of the human species,” said Ms. Judd

Yet their rights are too often undervalued and overlooked, and they are often excluded from decision-making processes and opportunities.

Reaching the most vulnerable
This is particularly true for adolescent girls. For many, child marriage and lack of access to school are daily realities. Pregnancy in adolescence, often the result of child marriage, also increases their risk of death and disability.