The Young and the Betrothed – Child Brides

While many of us fret over unimportant issues related to our own weddings or believe that our freedom of choice on how to marry is a sign of progress, we must remind ourselves that equality and humanity in marriage is seldom enjoyed in other parts of the world. From the denial of gay marriage to the following issue of child bride, we must remember that  many existing forms of marriage violate basic human rights. It is up to us who are privileged enough to enjoy healthier forms of marriage to not turn our backs on those who still need help.

‘More than 50 million girls under the age of 17 in developing countries are married; millions more are at risk of being forced into child marriages. The practice is rife in Afghanistan, particularly in rural areas. Approximately 57 percent of Afghan girls get married before the legal age of 16. Photographer Stephanie Sinclair captured some of these young women. The image above was selected as UNICEF’s “Photo of 2007.”‘

Click here to watch the rest of the slideshow: The Young and the Betrothed – An FP Slide Show | Foreign Policy.

Click here to read about Anna Badkhen’s account of a groom child’s wedding day.

Here are some facts from Unicef:

  • In developing countries, more than 60 million women aged 20-24 were married/in union before the age of 18. Over thirty-one million of them live in South Asia (UNICEF estimates based on MICS, DHS, and other national surveys, 1987-2006).
  • In countries like Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Mali, and Niger more than 60 per cent of women entered into marriage or into a union before their eighteenth birthdays (MICS, DHS, and other national surveys, 1987-2006).
  • Girls living in the poorest 20 per cent of households are more likely to get married at an early age than those living in the wealthiest 20 per cent. In Peru 45 per cent of women were married by age 18 among the poorest 20 per cent, compared to 5 per cent among the richest 20 per cent (UNICEF estimates based on DHS 2000).
  • Women with primary education are significantly less likely to be married/in union as children than those who received no education. In Zimbabwe, 48 per cent of women who had attended primary school had been married by the age of 18, compared to 87 per cent of those who had not attended school (UNICEF estimates based on DHS 1999).

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