News & Views

Press Releases

Population and Development Review: “Childbearing within Marriage and Consensual Union in Latin America, 1980–2010”

Population and Development Review: “Childbearing within Marriage and Consensual Union in Latin America, 1980–2010”
Photo credit: © 2012 Paola Roblesgil Photography

New Study from Population and Development Review Finds that Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing Has Become Increasingly Common among Highly Educated Women in 13 Latin American Countries

NEW YORK (18 March 2015) — “Consensual unions”—two people living in the same dwelling in a relationship akin to marriage—have been an integral part of family life in Latin America for centuries. In fact, in Latin America, legal marriages and consensual unions are seen as similarly acceptable family arrangements for bearing and raising children. However, consensual unions have historically been more common among disadvantaged populations and in rural areas than among more advantaged populations and in urban areas—indicating that such unions are rooted in limited economic and social opportunities. But a study in the March 2015 issue of Population and Development Review finds that childbearing within a consensual union among highly educated women has transitioned from rare to increasingly common in 13 Latin American countries. Population and Development Review is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal published by the Population Council.

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Media Coverage

Saving Innocence: The Global Fight to End Child Marriage

Saving Innocence: The Global Fight to End Child Marriage
Photo credit: © Ollivier Girard

14 million girls are married each year as children, fundamentally limiting their health, education, future prosperity, and well-being.

America Abroad, an award-winning program distributed by Public Radio International, spoke with Annabel Erulkar, the Population Council’s Ethiopia country director, to highlight her path-breaking work on ending child marriage.

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Press Releases

Studies in Family Planning: “Aligning Goals, Intents, and Performance Indicators in Family Planning Service Delivery”

NEW YORK (10 March 2015) — In the March 2015 issue of Studies in Family Planning, a commentary by Population Council social scientists Saumya RamaRao and Anrudh K. Jain contends that many promising family planning initiatives will meet their service delivery goals only if measures of performance are in line with the underlying intent of the initiatives.

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Council Commentary

BALIKA: Building Assets for Bangladeshi Girls

Two out of three girls in Bangladesh are married as children. Through the BALIKA (Bangladeshi Association for Life Skills, Income, and Knowledge for Adolescents) project, the Population Council and partners are evaluating approaches—including building skills for modern livelihoods—to prevent child marriage and improve life opportunities for girls in rural Bangladesh.

A new report outlines baseline findings on the lives of girls in the BALIKA study areas. Drawings by girls in BALIKA illustrate the real-life challenges they face and the opportunities the program provides them.

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Council Commentary

Investing in the Poorest Girls in the Poorest Communities Early Enough to Make a Difference

Investing in the Poorest Girls in the Poorest Communities Early Enough to Make a Difference

For decades, the Population Council has generated the evidence to demonstrate that adolescent girls are a neglected population with great potential for galvanizing global development and implemented successful programs to build girls’ assets. Read a new commentary from Council senior associate and policy analyst Judith Bruce on the Council’s evidence and approach.

Press Releases

The Need for Safe and Effective HIV Prevention for Women

Providing women and girls with products, information, and support to stay safe from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections is a key priority of the Population Council’s biomedical, social science, and public health research. Women, especially young women and girls, are at high risk for HIV infection in many parts of the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, young women are twice as likely as young men to be living with HIV. Globally, AIDS-related illnesses are the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age.

Recent findings from a number of HIV prevention studies have reinforced the urgent need to evaluate and introduce a range of HIV prevention products that fit the real-life needs of women and girls. These findings draw attention to what has long been a central tenet of Population Council research efforts: To be effective, HIV prevention products must also be accessible and easy to use. We are committed to developing HIV prevention products that address the complexities of women’s lives around the world.

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Media Coverage

“Underage Brides Are Everywhere”

The New York Times documents child marriage in Guatemalan villages, where about 53% of women age 20–24 marry before age 18, and 13% before age 15, according to Population Council research cited in the report.

Reporting and photography by journalist Stephanie Sinclair.

Media Coverage

Ending Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting within a Generation

Ending Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting within a Generation
Photo credit: Population Council

February 6th marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

FGM/C is a severe violation of girls’ and women’s human rights, may cause immediate and lifelong trauma, and has no health benefits. More than 120 million girls and women have already undergone FGM/C, and up to 30 million girls under age 15 are currently at risk.

Building on decades of research on FGM/C, the Population Council has received an award from the UK Department for International Development that will expand the Council’s comprehensive research agenda to illuminate the dynamics of FGM/C and generate empirical evidence on interventions to encourage its abandonment.

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From Our Partners

Addressing Child Marriage in Zambia

Forty-two percent of Zambian girls are married before they turn 18, robbing them of their education, health, and future.

A new short documentary by Girls Not Brides highlights how the Population Council is partnering with communities to empower adolescent girls.

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