Thousands of minor girls had to drop out of school due to 'pregnancy' during covid
Under a strict law enacted by the Zimbabwean government in 2020, pregnant girls were barred from attending school.
The remedy is worse than the disease.
Ban on pregnant girls from going to school in 2020.
In the first two months of the year 2021, about 5000 students became pregnant.
Harare, Zimbabwe: In addition to the corona outbreak, another social problem has emerged in Zimbabwe, an African country. Zimbabwe has seen a dramatic increase in the number of teenage pregnancies during the Corona transition period. Due to this, a large number of girls in the country have to drop out of school.
School closure orders for pregnant girls:
Many of these cases are related to illicit sexual relations. The government had enacted strict laws in 2020 to prevent such incidents from affecting other children. Under the law, pregnant girls were barred from going to school. As a result, the dropout rate of girls in schools has increased rapidly. Now the government is implementing several schemes to re-start the school for such girls.
One of the three marriages is under 18 years of age
In Zimbabwe, one in three girls gets married before she turns 18. Due to unplanned pregnancies, ineffective laws, poverty, cultural and religious practices, this problem is becoming more and more worrisome in the country.
Lockdown in the country from March 2020:
The total population of Zimbabwe is 1.5 million. A severe lockdown was imposed in the country in March 2020 due to the coronavirus infection. Schools and colleges were also closed by the government. The lockdown was called off for a few days after the infection had subsided. However, in the meantime, women's health was clearly neglected. So contraceptives and hospitals stay away from women and girls.
Increase in underage marriages:
During the Corona Lockdown, marriages of underage girls were common in many poor families. Many girls were sexually abused. But, ignoring the basic question, the government stopped pregnant girls from going to school. It was argued that a developing country like Zimbabwe needed to change its laws to deal with the growing number of such cases. However, the law became 'worse than cure' and the issue of sexual exploitation of girls reached a critical stage.
What does the law say? :
In Zimbabwe, having sex with a girl under the age of 16 is considered rape. Those convicted of the crime could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine. However, many cases do not reach the courts for fear of being tarnished in many places. In such a scenario, the number of marriages of minor girls has also increased dramatically.
In the first two months of 2021, 5,000 girls became pregnant
According to available statistics, around 3,000 girls dropped out of school in Zimbabwe in 2018 due to pregnancy. In 2019, this number remained relatively stable. In 2020, however, the number increased dramatically and 4,770 pregnant students had to drop out of school. In 2021, this figure reached a critical level. According to Sithembiso Nyoni, the country's women minister, nearly 5,000 students dropped out of school after becoming pregnant in the first two months of the year.
During the Corona period, not only Zimbabwe in Africa but also Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, South Africa, and Zambia saw an increase in the incidence of sexual violence.