The development community is starting to pay closer attention to the problem of child marriages.
Long considered an issue of human rights, the conversation about child marriage is shifting to that of health and education. Girls married too young are denied the educational opportunities of their peers and are put at greater health risks, such as HIV and teen pregnancy.
What may seem like a distant problem, child marriage is found in every part of the world. Ending the global practice will unleash opportunity for millions of women and girls.
The number of global child marriages is declining, but not quickly enough. Rates are staggering in places like Chad, Niger and the Central African Republic. More than two out of every three girls are married before eighteen. Roughly half of the girls married early in Niger do so before turning fifteen.
The global rate of child marriage is alarmingly high in developing countries where one out of every three girls will marry before turning eighteen. It is estimated that 142 million girls will marry before the age of eighteen this decade. The majority of cases are found in South Asia and West and Central Africa, but it is India that carries the majority of the burden, 40% to be exact.
It is not only a problem in Africa and Asia. Closer to the US, Haiti has a child marriage rate exceeding thirty percent. Continue reading