Every day, approximately 39,000 girls under the age of 18 get married. An estimated 140 million girls will become child brides between 2011 and 2020. Girls who are married as children are robbed of their youth, their education, their health, and their futures.
As a key player in shaping global development priorities—priorities that include education, health care, food security, economic empowerment, and ending violence against women and girls—the United States has an important role in ending early and forced marriage worldwide. We can’t achieve real, sustainable development without protecting and securing the right of all girls to decide if, when, and whom they marry.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed on February 28, 2013, created a mandate for the U.S. State Department and other federal agencies to produce a comprehensive strategy to end child marriage. Nearly a year has passed since VAWA, and we are still waiting for a comprehensive strategy.
We know what works to prevent child marriage and support girls who have already been forced to marry. Now is the time for the U.S. government to translate rhetoric into strategic policies and programs that have been proven to work.
Join IWHC and Girls Not Brides USA to demand action from Secretary of State John Kerry. Sign up for our action alerts.
Let’s give girls a choice, and a chance, for a real future.
Today, IWHC is joining world leaders and NGO partners at the Girl Summit to commit to do all we can to end child marriage and female genital mutilation.
On July 22, IWHC staff will join activists, community leaders, civil society organizations (CSOs), governments, and international organizations in London for Girl Summit 2014 to discuss how to end two of the most pressing human rights violations of our time: child, early, and forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).
The President’s budget increased aid for family planning and reproductive health programming, but we’re disappointed that child marriage is only addressed under the heading of ending gender-based violence.
The African Conference on Sexual Health and Rights presents an opportunity to propose strategies to shift the culture of silence on sexual and reproductive health and rights.