Sexual and reproductive health

Ending the cycle of violence against girls

Photo of participants to the meeting
From left to right: Dr Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli Scientist, Reproductive Health and Research, WHO/RHR/HRP; Ms Brigitte Filion Programme Officer, IPU; Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Member of Parliament and Speaker, Bangladesh Parliament; Ms Meher Afroze, Member of Parliament and State Minister, Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, Bangladesh; Ms Violeta Neubauer, Vice-Chair, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; Ms Anna-Karin Jatfors, Regional Programme Manager, Ending Violence Against Women, UN Women

DHAKA, BANGLADESH, 23-25 Sept. 2014 -- WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) contributed to a regional seminar for Asia-Pacific parliaments on 'Ending the cycle of violence against girls' organized by the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Bangladesh Parliament. At the seminar, Parliamentarians from 12 countries agreed on concrete actions that they would take in their individual countries to prevent violence against girls including early and forced marriage. They agreed to this by formulating laws and supporting the implementation and monitoring of actions in conformity with the laws. RHR will work through the Inter-Parliamentary Union to support the efforts of Parliamentarians, while working with Ministries of Health and other stakeholders to support research and action.

Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence

Three girls pose in a classroom in a village near Jodhpur, India.
Rose Reis/Photoshare

11 October is the UN International Day of the Girl Child. This year’s theme is “Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence”. Adolescence is a critical period that can determine the trajectory of girls’ lives. It is a stage at which key investments and support can set girls on a path towards empowerment, or when discrimination, recurrent constraints, harmful practices, and violence can send them down a negative spiral with lifelong consequences, not just for themselves, but for societies and future generations.

Very young adolescents

Women and young adolescents, India
Curt Carnemark / World Bank
Women and young adolescents, India

While physical, psychological and social development extends from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood, there is growing recognition that early adolescence (10-14 years) is an especially crucial phase. There is also widespread recognition that early adolescence has been/is being neglected both in research and in action.

Overcoming barriers to adolescent health education and health services

Adolescents work in small groups during a workshop on reproductive health, Bangladesh.
Adolescents work in small groups during a workshop on reproductive health, Bangladesh.

When national Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health strategies are not implemented effectively, adolescents and young people are unable to obtain the sexuality and reproductive health education they need in their schools and communities, and sexual and reproductive health services they need from health facilities in their communities. The result is unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and STIs including HIV infection.


Strategic areas of work

Related links

Sample core instruments

These instruments are intended to be no more than a starting point for investigators wishing to study the sexual and reproductive health of young people. Authors caution that these instruments should always be adapted to local circumstances and research priorities and, wherever possible, be used in conjunction with each other.

Joining forces to prevent early marriage


Key note address delivered by Dr Marleen Temmerman Viewing Gender, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Very Young Adolescents through a Wide Angle Lens.

WHO Media Centre