Nat Yogachandra
Nat Yogachandra campaign leader

End Child Marriage:
Please join me in my campaign. My goal is to get 50 pledges before my next birthday- on April 19

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on world leaders to support the developing world’s push to ban child marriage. The United States not only listened, but is leading the way.

Last year the U.S. Senate showed their bipartisan support for ending the inhumane practice of child marriage. Now is the time for you to show your support for ending child marriage.  Tell your member in the U.S. House of Representatives that you care about girls in the developing world.

Child marriage is a human rights violation. But tragically thousands of girls who've barely entered puberty are still married to men often twice their age or older.

Child brides are often separated from friends and family and never get an education. It also leads to serious health risks: Girls under 15 are five times as likely to die during pregnancy than women in their 20s. Countries with high child marriage rates are often mired in poverty, and the lack of opportunity perpetuates the practice.

There will be more than 100 million child brides in the next decade if we don't do something now.

Child Marriage Around the world

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. In 2010, 67 million women 20-24 around the world had been married before the age of 18. 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.

While countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage are concentrated in Western and Sub-Saharan Africa, due to population size, the largest number of child brides reside in South Asia.

Poverty and Child Marriage

Girls living in poor households are almost twice as likely to marry before 18 than girls in higher income households. More than half of the girls in Bangladesh, Mali, Mozambique and Niger are married before age 18. In these same countries, more than 75 percent of people live on less than $2 a day.

Education and Child Marriage

Girls with higher levels of schooling are less likely to marry as children. In Mozambique, some 60 percent of girls with no education are married by 18, compared to 10 percent of girls with secondary schooling and less than one percent of girls with higher education. Educating adolescent girls has been a critical factor in increasing the age of marriage in a number of developing countries, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.

Health and Child Marriage

Girls younger than 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s. Pregnancy is the leading cause of death worldwide for girls ages 15 to 19. Child brides face a higher risk of contracting HIV because they often marry an older man with more sexual experience. Girls ages 15 – 19 are 2 to 6 times more likely to contract HIV than boys of the same age in sub-Saharan Africa.

Violence and Child Marriage

Girls who marry before 18 are more likely to experience domestic violence than their peers who marry later. A study conducted by ICRW in two states in India found that girls who were married before 18 were twice as likely to report being beaten, slapped or threatened by their husbands than girls who married later. Child brides often show signs symptomatic of sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress such as feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and severe depression.

Religion and Child Marriage 

No one religious affiliation was associated with child marriage, according to a 2007 ICRW study. Rather, a variety of religions are associated with child marriage in countries throughout the world.

(International Center for Research on Women)

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