Thursday, August 04, 2011

Perpetuating Poverty through Child Marriage

One of the biggest obstacles facing the implementation of the UN Millenium Goals is the proliferation of child marriage.

Currently, there are around 50 million child brides worldwide. This number is expected to increase two-fold in the next decade. In Mali, Niger, and Chad, 70 percent of girls are forced to marry.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child considers marriage before 18 a fundamental human rights violation. This is due to the fact that young girls who are forced into marriage rarely continue on with their education. As a result, they are thrown in dependent relationships with their spouses and their spouses' family and lose ability to contribute economically to the household.

Studies have proven that the more education a girl can receive, the less likely that she will become a child bride. However, distance of schools and the lack of funds make education a luxury for many girls living in poor conditions.

The reasons why communities marry out their daughters at a young early age range from trying to cement alliances between families, to insuring that virginity and therefore the price of the bride remain intact, and the need of financial resources to eliminate familial debt.

Back in 2010, the Senate unanimously passed the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Marriage Act, which would make child marriage transparent in an annual human rights report from nations, but it was blocked by the House stating that abortions would become more rampant.

By decreasing the prevalence of child marriage, not only will aid become more effective, it will also start to change beliefs about the roles of women and girls in society.

Use your voice! Call your representatives to let them know about issues that you are passionate about.

-Chelsey Dambro

Source: TrustLaw