Prince Harry addressed the lack of inadequate education provided to 62 million girls globally and Nepal’s high rate of child marriages.
“Here in Nepal, nearly half of all women who are today in their twenties, thirties and forties were married before their eighteenth birthdays," he said. "And a little under half gave birth while still in their teens.”
While he did mention that gender inequality was not a topic he has spoken about in great detail in the past, it still is something that is obvious to him and everyone in the room.
“Whether it's a girl in Lesotho living with HIV; or the talented young woman in Britain who doesn't get taken seriously because of where she grew up; or the 14-year-old girl forced out of school so she can get married here in Nepal; we need to acknowledge that so many countries and cultures are failing to protect the opportunities of young women and girls in the way they do for boys,” he said during his speech.
Prince Harry said that the only way the cycle of inequality, illiteracy, and poverty among women in many areas of the world is broken, is through education. He called on both women and men to speak on behalf of girls, saying, “I believe it is vitally important for men like me to acknowledge this as loudly and openly as role models do like President Bhandari, the U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and activists like Malala.”
Prince Harry gives a traditional Namaste welcome at a reception hosted by the Government of Nepal in Kathmandu. He told the guests: "I know that I arrive in Nepal as you approach the first anniversary of the earthquakes that took so many lives. I pay my respects to those who perished and hope to do what I can to shine a spotlight on the reserve and resilience of the Nepali people. I want to show all those around the world who want to help that this country is open for business. I can't wait to get out there and see all this country has to offer."
The female leadership in Nepal, including the President and the Speaker, are helping inspire progressive changes for the country. Prince Harry stated that child marriage, which is now officially banned by law, has “fallen by 10% over the last decade." The government is hoping to end child marriages by 2030.
Prince Harry is extending his trip in Nepal, where he was visiting survivors of last year’s earthquake, to rebuild a school that was damaged by the disaster.
This is Purushottam Suwal showing Prince Harry around Byasi Earthquake camp in Bhaktapur. He is 15 years old and is chairman of the site's management committee. He has lived in the temporary camp with his family and 250 other people for almost a year. He was made chairman because he took such an active role in helping his community in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. He epitomises the resolve and resilience of the Nepali people that Prince Harry spoke about on arrival in the country yesterday. #HarryInNepal