In their Time Magazine post, the three woman explained that about 12 million girls in the world annually face a situation where they could be forced into marriage because of a “web of economic, educational, and cultural systems” that takes away their choices and opportunities.
They argued that child marriage is one of the most notable threats to girls’ education, as child brides are more likely to leave school, face violence, struggle to make money, unintentionally get pregnant, experience a miscarriage or die during pregnancy.
“But when girls go to school, we are all better off: poverty goes down, economies grow, and babies are born healthier,” they said. “The ripple effects extend throughout countries and across the globe.”
The group wrote that they are focusing on three actions to try to reduce the number of child marriages and eventually eliminate them. First, they are working with women and girls to take legal action to secure their rights.
They cited an example of a group of girls who were able to successfully push for Malawi’s parliament to raise its legal marriage age to 18 in 2017 and other actions that have improved child marriage laws in countries like Uganda, Zimbabwe and Indonesia.
In their op-ed, the woman also shared that they are working with grassroots organizations to “change hearts and minds” in local communities about child marriage laws.
Read more here.
Number of Women and Girls At Risk: 25,000
Status: Existing Legislation Needs Strengthening
Improve by adding: Prosecuting parents/guardian, felony offense