According to regime statistics, from March through June of 2012, 1,805 children under the age of 15 were married legally and with the permission of the court; that number for the period from March 2011 to March 2012 was 7,440.
Expressing concern about the increase, anti-child-bride activist Farshid Yazdani, a member of the Association for the Defense of Children's Rights in Iran, noted that while in 2006 child marriages constituted 2.3% of all marriages, by 2010 that figure had grown 45%, to 4.9%. He warned the regime about the ramifications of child marriages, including divorce and domestic violence, and noted that in 2006, statistics showed that Iran had 25,000 divorced children aged 10-15.
According to Islamic law, girls reach maturity at age nine; in 2011, in Tehran province alone, 75 girls and boys under 10 were married. Warning about the increase in marriages of children under 10, Yazdani noted that in 2010, in all of Iran 716 children under 10 wed – twice as many as in 2007.
Not long ago I wrote about how old Saudi men are buying the young daughters of Syrian refugees as temporary brides - a form of prostitution forced on the Syrians by their civil war. This behavior is not limited to just Syria, though. There's a new report of Muslim men traveling to India to buy young girls for temporary marriages, too.
The latest information has been made public thanks to Nausheen Tobassum, a 17-year-old girl who was sold to her parens to a Sudanese man for $1,800. They promised that Nausheen would have sex with the man in exchange for the money, but she fled to the police. Her aunt, the Muslim "qazi" or judge (acting more like a pimp, here), and the man have all been arrested; her parents are in hiding and being sought.
Shinyanga leads in child marriages - TAMWA IPPmedia Tanzania Media Women's Association (TAMWA) has released a study showing that Shinyanga has the highest child marriages prevalence rates in the country, whereby two out of five girls are married...
When women look for health information online, they do so as caregivers to their children, spouses and other family members. This is a very personal thing. It’s important to them that the information they find is credible and accurate.
Blogs written by non-medical professionals won’t do. In fact even writers who are paid by health organizations are not necessarily believable either. What women want is trustworthy information that is backed up by credible sources and professional medical perspectives.
#2. Health campaigns using social media must approach women and men differently
Women and men use social media differently. Women like to talk and share things that are more personal in nature. Men don’t. Women also don’t mind being vulnerable and leaning on each other for support, as long as privacy and trust are emphasized.
What this means for healthcare communicators is that while women are open to having discussions that promote healthy lifestyles, they will only do so in a group of friends and trusted peers. Your challenge is to figure out how to enter those conversations or facilitate new conversations that include women and their trusted networks.
#3. Healthcare communicators stand out by helping not selling
With so much content competing for our attention online, healthcare communicators who want to stand out above the noise must offer simple, relevant, interesting and useful information that helps to solve the problems that women face.
The idea of pushing marketing messages must be resisted at all costs – those types of messages will only be ignored. Websites such as WebMD and MayoClinic understand that to attract huge female audiences, their content must help not sell.
#4. Vanity metrics are less important than engagement metrics for health campaigns
This was an interesting point of discussion. Generally we agreed that it’s more important to have 100 Facebook fans or Twitter followers who are genuinely interested and engaged with your content, than 10,000 fans who never interact with your social media posts.
The goal of most healthcare campaigns is to influence healthy decision-making and positive life-style choices, so it’s important that audiences respond and give feedback about their own experiences. When looking at Facebook or Twitter metrics for your healthcare campaign, it’s extremely important to look at Likes, comments, re-tweets, mentions and shares, as a measure of a successful campaign.
#5. Women use mobile differently from men…even for health information!
Did you know that 33% of female cell-phone owners use their phones to search for health information compared to 29% of male cell-phone owners? Did you also know that even though men text more than women, women are more likely to sign up for health text alerts? (Pew Research).
Women are primary care givers in the family. They’re also more likely to seek online support when they become pregnant, try to quit smoking, struggle with their weight or go through a significant life change. In the U.S. healthcare communicators should leverage mobile apps to reach these women, while keeping in mind that women will check to verify the credibility of the company behind those apps. However, text messages being more globally ubiquitous than smart-phone apps are likely to have wider reach especially in countries where smart-phone penetration is not far-reaching due to economic or financial reasons.
For the full-length panel discussion, check out the YouTube video here.
A video posted online by an 11-year-old Yemeni girl denouncing an alleged attempt by her parents to marry her to an older man has drawn criticism and praise in the country, drawing attention to the contentious issue of child marriage, still...
Moving forward, ending child marriage -- and, importantly, supporting married girls like Genet -- deserves renewed attention and investment as a core target under the goal of empowering women and gender equality.
PolicyMic Yemen child marriage: minister calls for ban after death of eight-year-old girl The Guardian Yemen child brides, eight-year-old Nojud Ali, left, and Arwa, nine, pose for a picture as they celebrate their divorces, granted them by a Sana'a...
Al Jazeera America Child Brides and Too-Early Sexual Activity American Thinker Recently, the world read with horror about the death of a Yemeni 8-year-old child bride who died of internal bleeding and uterine rupture on her wedding night to a man...
Every day, more than 25,000 girls under the age of 18 are married worldwide, human rights groups estimate. For many child brides, a future of poverty, exploitation, and poor health awaits. Here are nine things you should ...
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