Sometimes referred to as ‘child marriage’, or ‘child, early, and forced marriage’, Early and Forced Marriage (EFM) is a comprehensive term which refers to marriages that occur under the age of 18 (early) and/or a marriage without the full and free consent of both parties (forced). Forced marriage includes child marriage, but also human trafficking, ‘bride kidnapping’ etc.
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is one of the five main organs of the United Nations (UN) and is responsible for coordinating the economic, social, and related work of 14 UN agencies (e.g. WHO, ILO, UNICEF etc.), their functional commissions (e.g. the Commission on Population and Development, the Commission on the Status of Women etc.) and five regional commissions (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific etc.). ECOSOC is the central platform at the UN for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to the UN member states.
While empowerment is a commonly used term in the world of international development, there is no one accepted definition. Generally, someone is empowered when (1) they have equal capabilities, (2) equal access to resources and opportunities, and (3) has the agency to use these rights, capabilities, resources, and opportunities to make their own choices. Put simply an empowered person can control their own destiny, they have the ability to achieve their full potential in society, and shape their life according to their own aspirations. Furthermore, the concept of empowerment goes beyond the individual in the sense that it really seeks to transform the social structures and institutions that perpetuate discrimination and inequality.
Within the field of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), this term refers to an environment that accepts, promotes, and protects young people’s SRHR and increases community support for sexuality education and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. Such an environment enables young people to thrive and reach their full potential.
Engaging men and boys means that men and boys are actively involved in a certain process. Usually this term is used in reference to achieving gender equality with the active participation of men. This concept goes against previous assumptions that gender equality is 'a woman's issue', and supports the belief that true equality cannot be achieved by leaving out half of the world’s population, especially when men and boys continue to hold significantly more power than women. Furthermore, adopting this approach recognizes the fact that men and boys also suffer from gendered expectations, which can significantly impact how they live their lives.
Equality is a situation whereby everyone, regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socio-economic status, race, age, marital status, disability or any other factor, are given equal opportunities and conditions to realizing their full potential. Everyone is free to develop their personal abilities and to make choices without discrimination, stigma, or prejudice.