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Break the Barriers to free choice in Burkina Faso

    Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 10:57

    If you’re a girl in Burkina Faso, chances are your childhood won’t last long. Forced early marriage is common, as is early pregnancy.

    If you’re a woman, you may be denied contraception, simply because you don’t have your husband’s permission. And if you do manage to get contraception, you may be forced to use it in secret for fear of being accused of adultery by your partner or in-laws.

    If you’re a rape survivor, pregnant as a result of that assault, you must pay for your own emergency medical care – something that is out of reach for most victims.

    It’s an unsustainable situation. Burkina Faso’s girls want their childhoods back. Their mothers, aunts and sisters are fed up of being side-lined from the decisions that affect their lives. Stand with them today.

    Unequal treatment denies women choice

    In Burkina Faso, whether you’re a woman or a girl, you are prevented from making crucial decisions that belong to you. Decisions like whether or when to get married, whom to marry, and whether or when to get pregnant. These barriers to choice are fuelled by social attitudes that value men and boys over women and girls.

    This discrimination results in abuses of the basic human rights of women and girls, including their right to life, to education and to quality health care, particularly sexual and reproductive health care.

    When I was 12, my father married me off to a 25-year-old man. I refused.
    Rose, aged 46

    Above all, this discrimination denies women and girls their sexual and reproductive rights – rights which allow them to freely make decisions about what happens to their bodies and their lives without threat of violence. This includes the right to proper information and services on sexual health, family planning and sexuality.

    The consequences of these abuses are clear when you look at the numbers. Only 64.2% of girls can access education but many of them are forced to give up school to get married or to take on domestic work. By the time they are 19 years old, most girls have already become wives, and nearly half of all young women are already mothers.


    My Body My Rights in Burkina Faso

    For the girls whose families force them to get married, for the woman who needs her husband’s or in-laws’ permission to use contraception; for the girl who becomes pregnant after being raped and has no choice but to carry that pregnancy to term; we take the My Body My Rights campaign to Burkina Faso.

    Sometimes we don’t have any money to pay for contraception and that is how I came to have eight children.
    Korotimi, aged 43

    Together with the many women and girls there who continue to demand their rights, we call on the government to break the barriers to free choice in Burkina Faso.


    Pamphlet: My Body my Rights - Burkino Faso