Social Health and Behavior

: 2019  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 39--40

Necessity to invest in the welfare of the 10-year-old girls: United Nations Population Fund

Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava1, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava2,  
1 Vice Principal Curriculum, Department of Community Medicine, Member of the Medical Education Unit and Medical Research Unit, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rdFloor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Necessity to invest in the welfare of the 10-year-old girls: United Nations Population Fund.Soc Health Behav 2019;2:39-40

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Necessity to invest in the welfare of the 10-year-old girls: United Nations Population Fund. Soc Health Behav [serial online] 2019 [cited 2022 Jan 19 ];2:39-40
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Full Text

Dear Editor,

It is not a novel idea that the future of the world will be determined by the ways in which the girls are nurtured in the society.[1] According to a recently released report by the United Nations Population Fund, 10-year-old girls have been given immense importance as it marks the start of adolescence, when they begin to explore different aspects of life.[1] Either they gain more independence and develop newer interests, or their interests are curtailed within four walls depending on the sociocultural norms prevailing in their community.[1],[2] Even though both boys and girls are exposed to numerous challenges, due to the existing gender inequalities, the risk and impact on girls become disproportionately high.[3]

As a matter of fact, it is quite obvious that any form of welfare of these girls will have a strong impact on the timely accomplishment of the sustainable development goals.[3] This is predominantly because when girls are empowered, they can significantly contribute toward the health and the well-being of their families, their society, and nations and also in the growth of the global economy.[2],[3] However, any circumstances under which we fail to optimize their potential, the nation is at a significant loss.[3]

The current demographic estimates suggest that out of the 125 million 10-year-olds around the world, close to 90% are living in less developed nations, where poverty is rampant, and they have to deal with extremely challenging situations to be healthy, get educated, and eventually meet their total potential.[3] Moreover, 48% of the total 10-year-olds are girls, and in excess of 50% of these girls are living in settings with gender inequality, due to which they have to face different forms of barriers either for their basic rights (such as education and health) or their vocational scope.[3] As far as the involvement of these girls in household work is concerned, they not only work twice the amount of time as compared with their boy counterparts but also often are unpaid, which again is a serious concern.[1]

Further, it will not be wrong to say that the majority of the 10-year-old girls are not quite far from being married off and hence are extremely vulnerable to the associated risks of child marriage.[1],[2] In fact, the current estimates suggest that more than 40,000 girls are married on a daily basis before they actually attain the legally permitted age limit.[2] In addition, it has been reported that with every 10 min, one adolescent girl dies due to violence.[3] It is quite a worse estimate and explains the mind set of people, where abusing a girl is acknowledged as a norm.[3]

Furthermore, due to the minimal knowledge about sexual and reproductive health among women, adolescent girls have a high preponderance for sexually transmitted infections.[1],[4] In fact, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome has been identified as the most common cause of death among the adolescent girls.[1] This is followed by suicides as often their rights and autonomy are questioned, and their ambitions and abilities are disregarded, which can manifest as a cumulative impact on their mental and emotional well-being.[3]

In an attempt to improve the health and welfare standards of these girls, educating them is regarded as the best investment, but the pity is that in excess of 60 million adolescent girls are not in schools, and almost 16 million girls in the age group of 6–11 years never even get a chance to get enrolled in school.[1],[5] In fact, it has been estimated that a 10% rise in salary in future life can be achieved by girls with each additional year, a girl spends in school.[5] In addition, it has been emphasized that by investing in the health, education, and empowerment of 10-year-old girls, a triple hike in the lifetime income of girls has been observed.[1],[3]

To conclude, it will not be wrong to say that any form of investment on the 10-year-old girls by the policymakers is expected to improve the overall status of the family, society, and the nation. Thus, it is the need of the hour that all the concerned sectors should adopt a multidisciplinary approach to counter all the hindering factors which prevent these girls to attain their full potential.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest


1United Nations Population Fund. The Power of 10: Ten Astonishing Facts about 10-Year-Old Girls; 2016. Available from: [Last accessed on 2018 Nov 08].
2Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Ending child marriage: Battling for a girl's right to choose. Prim Health Care 2016;6:e114.
3UNFPA. State of World Population 2016. New York: UNFPA Press; 2016. p. 1-26.
4Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Encouraging human immunodeficiency virus self-testing among vulnerable group of adolescents: A WHO initiative. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016;9:126-7.
5Cribb VL, Haase AM. Girls feeling good at school: School gender environment, internalization and awareness of socio-cultural attitudes associations with self-esteem in adolescent girls. J Adolesc 2016;46:107-14.