Posted on | april 28, 2011 | No Comments
Today some 25,000 marriages will take place, however these are not the weddings and unions that for great celebration but that of grave concern, for they are the marriages of mear girls. Everyday across the globe 25,000 girls are married according to World Vision’s report, Before She’s Ready;
“..every day, an estimated 3,500 girls will marry before reaching their fifteenth birthdays. Another 21,000 girls each day marry before the age of 18. Their total is expected to reach up to 100 million within the next decade. Already, 51 million girls in the developing world have been married before legal adulthood.”
One in seven girls in developing countries, with the exception of China, is married before their 15th birthday. The practice of child marriages is more prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, however child marriage continues in other parts of the world, including South America, Middle East and among the Roma populations of Europe. According to the UN there will be more than 100 million child brides across the globe in the next decade if rates continue at this level.
The figures are alarming, the global cost is high and one we cannot ignore. The issue of child marriage is not merely a social and gender discrimination issue, but also that of a global health problem. Child marriages lead to early pregnancies, which leave girls at high risk for death in childbirth, complications including Fisutula, and low birth weights. The most ignored facet of the plight of child brides everywhere is the fact that they are are modern-day slaves.
The United Nations Girl Up program have put the spotlight on the issue of global child marriages and in developing nati Over the next few weeks, thousands of these girls will be signing a petition encouraging policymakers in Washington DC to support girls across the globe by:
• Developing a strategy to help partner countries prevent child marriage;
• Supporting programs and policies that prevent child marriage;
• Monitoring and reporting on efforts to end child marriage.
With a world population composed of 600 million adolescent girls there value to our global society and development cannot be silenced any longer. These girls are the future of their communities and nations, each girl holds the ability to create a positive change in their family and community.
Gender discrimination must be put on the forefront of the agenda in order to see an end to the cycle of abuse and poverty, that continue to fuel child marriages. States must ensure that individual communities are adequately educated on the long-term effects of child marriage,and gender discrimination, and see that sustainable solutions are then put in place. Such solutions include; making a education a priority and ensuring girls have equal access, seeing families have alternatives to pay debts, and providing health education on HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
The issue of child marriage is far to often ignored and Girl Up’s dedication to focus on this issue and help create a global front that is untied to bring an end to this unjust and unacceptable practice is key to the future of girls everywhere. While it is critical that the U.S. continue to work in partnership with local communities, leaders, governments, and the UN to address the rights and needs of girls, your voice is vital to see that action is taken at all levels of awareness, aid and policy development. Therefore please lend your voice to the Girl Up petition today!