Tag Archives: child marriage

Why Secondary Education for Girls Reduces Child Marriage, Early Pregnancies

UNESCO just released its report, Sustainable Development: Post 2015 Begins With Education, that takes a look at the critical importance of education on the post-2015 agenda. The core stance in the report portends that without greater access to education poverty eradication will become increasingly difficult to achieve by 2030. The betterment of women’s and girls’ lives across the globe, most specifically in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia depends greatly on their equal access to quality education.

In the poorest countries, 2.9 million girls are married by 15. If girls in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia simply have a secondary education child marriage would decrease by 69%. Secondary education also causes a delay in young girls having their first child. Young girls disproportionately die in childbirth. Education will, in turn, cause a reduction in not only maternal health, but also in newborn deaths. In fact, Brazil saw a a 70 percent reduction in its fertility rate because it became a country priority to improve schools and education.

Educated girls have children later and smaller families overall. They are less likely to die during pregnancy or birth, and their offspring are more likely to survive past the age of five and go on to thrive at school and in life. Women who attended school are better equipped to protect themselves and their children from malnutrition, deadly diseases, trafficking and sexual exploitation. – Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway and Graça Machel, President, Foundation for Community Development & Founder, Graça Machel Trust.


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Men March Against Child Marriage in Liberia

Last week’s International Day of the Girl began a prolific movement of putting girls on the global agenda. Equal rights, access to education, choices about marriage and childbirth, and girls’ futures are constantly in flux. Girls in developing countries need our help and they desperately need the help of men who understand the plight they face.

On October 11 in Monrovia men marched against child marriage holding signs saying, “They are girls, not wives” and “We will stand up. We will speak up.”

According to the International Center for Research on Women, Liberia is one of the top twenty countries where child marriage is the largest. At 48.4% nearly half of Liberia’s girls are married as adolescents. Girls who become child brides have a higher chance of dying during childbirth, typically cease their educational studies, and become victims of domestic violence.

Too Young to Wed

Stephanie Sinclair, the visionary National Geographic photographer who has told the story of child marriage in several developing countries, has launched an exhibit Too Young to Wed that shows photos and shares stories about the secret life of child brides.

There is an accompanying film that is well worth the 10 minutes to watch.

What can you do to help?

Photo: UN/Emmanuel Toby