Tackling the Taboo focuses on the need to address patriarchal control of adolescent girls’ sexuality in the fight against child, early and forced marriage and unions, and highlights the vital role played by gender-transformative programmes. The report presents findings from a review of 23 organizations that work at the intersection of child marriage and sexuality, and includes three case studies that feature the work of grassroots organizations working in politically and culturally conservative contexts.
Tackling the Taboo is intended as a learning tool for practitioners, a guide for future research opportunities, a call to action for funders, and an advocacy tool for engaging in dialogue with policymakers and leaders. The report was produced by the CEFM and Sexuality Programs Working Group.
Download the Full Report or the Summary Report in English, French and Spanish here.
On January 22, 2020, a diverse group of funders, civil society organizations (CSOs), international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs), UN agency and government representatives and advocates working in the area of child, early and forced marriage and unions (CEFMU) and adolescent girls’ rights came together for a one-day convening to discuss and unpack key findings from the Tackling the Taboo report and share experiences from their own work. The objective was to identify challenges and opportunities related to increasing understanding of and support for feminist, gender-transformative approaches to CEFMU and girls’ rights more broadly, with a focus on the role of funding institutions.
This summary report seeks to highlight key themes, lessons learned and critical questions surfaced in the course of the meeting, as well as action steps that funding institutions, national governments, INGOs, CSOs and others in the room felt were an important part of collective and individual efforts to strengthen this work going forward.
In efforts to prevent child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) and to scale up a region-wide response, CARE MENA (Middle East and North Africa) has sought to strengthen their programming by understanding and integrating approaches to address the connection between CEFM, adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH), and Gender Based Violence (GBV). In addition to portraying barriers to such integration, the goal of this research is to understand solutions for effective CEFM prevention and response strategies through ASRH and/or GBV programming in the MENA region.
For the few initiatives in the region that are centered around prevention of CEFM (such as CARE Jordan’s COMBI) or meeting the needs and fulfilling the rights of married adolescent girls (such as the Young Mothers Clubs of CARE Syria), we looked for how GBV, protection, and SRHR are integrated into the programs. The report presents the work that currently exists, challenges to expanding adolescent and CEFM programming in humanitarian settings, and recommendations for future practice.
CARE’s approach to addressing CEFM incorporates attention to social norm change, reflecting the complexity of girls’ lives with multi-sectoral programming, building girls’ agency and solidarity, engaging men and boys for gender equality, bringing insight to advocacy and tackling the issue in emergency response.
Global Legal Analysis
From 2009 to 2016, CARE USA and the Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program (APEP) partnered to develop a set of tools for evaluating policy advocacy. This report highlights the learnings from our experience piloting two tools focused on CARE’s Gender and Empowerment advocacy in particular: a Gender Scorecard for U.S. Administration Officials, and a Quality of Discourse tool.
Child marriages continue to be the norm. As elsewhere in the world, the drivers of child marriage include deeply entrenched cultural norms and religious beliefs. Transformation demands change in mindsets of all people in society along with laws that incentivize positive practices and deters harmful practices. This study focused mainly on laws of South Asian countries.
Summary of findings of a study conducted to understand child-marriage related laws in South Asian countries and the Child Marriage Restraint Act 2017 of Bangladesh that repealed the previous law and set the minimum age of marriage for women at 18 and at 21 for men. It highlights recommendations from experts and activists to strengthen the legal framework in Bangladesh.