One third of the world’s girls are married before the age of 18 and 1 in 9 are married before the age of 15. If present trends continue, 142 million girls will be married before their 18th birthday over the next decade. That’s an average of 14.2 million girls each year.
Access to education for girls can help prevent child marriage. Girls with higher levels of schooling are less likely to marry as children. In Mozambique, some 60% of girls with no education are married by 18, compared to 10% of girls with secondary schooling and less than 1% of girls with higher education.
Work to prevent child marriage can also keep girls in school. Once a girl is married, her access to education – formal and informal – becomes limited or ends.
Child marriage perpetuates family and community cycles of poverty, poor health, and limited decision-making. Low-income parents may feel unable to provide girls with proper care or education, or may regard them as economic burdens. Girls married off as children usually leave school, suffer greater health risks and lose any opportunity for personal development, greatly reducing their economic potential.
Ending child marriage and otherwise addressing girls’ needs is critical to the fulfillment of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and to the achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and to the post-2015 Development Goals as well.
Add your voice
The Girl Summit on 22 July 2014 in London will rally a global movement to end child and forced marriage and female genital mutilation and cutting within a generation. CARE is participating in the Summit, including co-hosting a Girls Declaration side event, and has endorsed a Girl Summit Charter that will be launched at the Summit.
Please take and share the Girl Summit pledge – it calls for public support to end these practices. Watch the video What does freedom mean to you? produced by the Department for International Development.
It's a chance to put an end to two of the greatest abuses facing girls today – but this will only happen if we demonstrate large-scale support for global leaders and local communities to do the right thing.«All Press Releases