Forced marriages prevent girls from going to school and trap women in modern-day slavery
As much as 12 million girls (and youngest of them only 8 years of age) are forced into marriage every year. Some of them have no personal ID, no reading or writing skills, let alone an education… The problem is enormous. Without releasing and empowering the girls, there is no way to resolve the problems related to terrorism and other issues in the Middle East, Africa and many other parts of the world. Gender inequality and using girls as a commodity are underlying factors in many of the issues.
“Education is a very powerful tool in the prevention of child marriage,” he added [Patrick Adupa, Plan International’s child protection program manager in Uganda.]
“When girls are out of school because they cannot manage their periods it’s hard for them to avoid marriage.”
Adupa said sanitary products could cost girls around $2 a month — a prohibitive price in a country where nearly one in five people lives on less than $1 a day. -> with our donation system girls could buy sanitary pads.
Economists say keeping girls in school not only protects them from child marriage but boosts national prosperity.
An educated girl is more likely to be economically productive and to have healthier and better educated children of her own, creating a ripple effect. Reuters.com
There are organizations that already help these girls, however their chances to offer them a new life is limited. The documentary about Afghanistan girl named Sonita Alizadeeh pinpoints the core of the problem: even if the girl gets to go to school, her future as a free adult is not guaranteed. The family may end up selling her sooner or later to marriage (or prostitute, slavery etc.), after which she becomes the property of her husband. Usually, her education ends there. The girl usually does not formally even exist, because she is unlikely to possess a birth certificate or an ID. She will not have any way to avoid her destiny.
“However, forced child marriage is surmountable. Education is the single most important factor associated with girls marrying before the age of 18, according to ICRW research.
“When we enroll more girls in school, marriage rates go down. When girls learn about their rights and have access to income-generating opportunities, they create alternatives to marriage,” Malhotra said. “And when social norms change and families have access to community support, they will delay marriage for their daughters.” ICRW.org
Early marriage often prevents girls from continuing their education and realising their full potential. 12 years of education for every girl would result in a 64% drop in child marriage. Secondary education also helps to prevent early pregnancy. Malala.org
According to the International Center for Research on Women and the World Bank, ending the practice of child marriage would save billions of dollars in annual welfare expenditures, resulting in global savings of more than $4 trillion by 2030. Simply put, the world cannot afford to allow child marriage to continue. Weforum.org
Cost of education
“It costs on average US$1.25 a day per child in developing countries (low and lower-middle income) to provide a full cycle of pre-primary through secondary education (13 years). The largest share of this cost, 88%, will be borne by developing countries themselves. The international funding gap is just 15 cents a day per child, on average.” Globalpartnership.org
With as little as EUR 0.13 per day, or EUR 47.45 per year, we are able to educate a child in developing countries.
The total amount of philanthropic contributions in Europe is estimated at EUR 87.5 billion annually. Americans gave USD 410 billion to charities in 2017. 84% of Millennials give to charity, donating an annual average of USD 481. Ernop.eu and Nonprofitsource.com
It should be noted that forced marriages and the position of immigrant women are also a problem in developed countries.
“Switzerland has not remained unaffected. In the past two years, around 1,400 young women in Switzerland have been forced to marry, end a relationship or divorce, according to a study by Neuchâtel University for the Federal Migration Office of Switzerland. Often times, the women depended on their husbands financially, as well as for their legal status as residents in the country, the study concluded.” Ohchr.org
“As a persistent form of modern day slavery, forced marriage is an embedded cultural practice that is found in a variety of countries. Forced marriage even occurs among immigrant groups in the United States and Europe. Fortunately, new approaches offer hope for putting an end this practice.” cnn.com
“But child marriage is happening right now in the U.S. And that’s not okay. More than 200,000 minors were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2015″ Forbes.com
“WOMEN AND GIRLS, INCLUDING CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS 12, ARE BEING FORCED INTO MARRIAGE HERE IN THE STATES.” Knotsthefilm.com
“Forced marriage in the western world, and especially in Australia, United States and UK has gone under-reported and under-noticed for decades. When we think of girls and young women being forced into marriage, we often think of countries and cultures distant from our own, where women and girls are oppressed by circumstances like war, poverty, lack of education and opportunity, or long-held cultural traditions. ” Documentaryaustralia.com
Identity is everything for girls that do not officially exist
A significant part of the problem is that girls do not officially exist. Obtaining an identity document is an extremely important part of starting a new life because without the passport and other personal information it is impossible for the girl to travel.
According to UNICEF “the births of around one fourth of children under the age of five worldwide have never been recorded.” Blockchain Revolution, p.xiv (UNICEF data: Monitoring the Situation of Children and Women, Jan 2018) Unicef.org
“The total number of girls married in childhood stands at 12 million per year” Unicef.org
The problem with child marriage is huge, since we are talking about hundreds of millions girls. And one must remember, these girls are the ones giving birth to new human beings that will continue this cycle. Many of the girls are still children themselves when they give birth. They are ill-equipped to care for children, and the girls face major psychological and physiological health risks. Also, as a female, the wife and mother has no authority over the male in the family, not even in matters concerning her own child.
“Of the world’s 1.1 billion girls, 22 million are already married. Hundreds of millions more are at risk, and the number will only grow as populations increase. Here are a couple of possible scenarios:
If there is no reduction in the practice of child marriage, up to 280 million girls alive today are at risk of becoming brides by the time they turn 18. Due to population growth, this number will approach 320 million by 2050. The total number of women married in childhood will grow from more than 700 million today to approximately 950 million by 2030, and nearly 1.2 billion by 2050. The number of girls under age 18 married each year will grow from 15 million today to 16.5 million in 2030 to over 18 million in 2050.
However, we know that progress has occurred over the last three decades. If the current rate of progress is sustained, the proportion of women married as children will continue to decrease: from 33 per cent in 1985 to 22 per cent by 2030 and to 18 per cent by 2050. Despite gains, this rate of decline is barely fast enough to keep pace with population growth. Even if progress continues, the total number of women married as children will still be around 700 million in 2050, although nearly 490 million girls will haveavoided early marriage.” Unicef.org
Child marriages and Islam
We Encourage is on a mission to prevent child and forced marriages, and to empower women and girls. Visit our site www.encourage.fi