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.
In advance of International Day of the Girl on Saturday, October 11, IWHC co-hosted a panel discussion about ending child marriage with the Permanent Mission of Zambia to the UN and three young African activists.
To mark the 30th anniversary of the International Women’s Health Coalition earlier this month, IWHC hosted a panel discussion with three young women activists to assess the progress we’ve made and address the challenges that lie ahead for women’s rights.
On September 5, the UN General Assembly hosted its first-ever panel discussion focused on ending child, early, and forced marriage.
After the Girl Summit in London and the U.S.-Africa Summit in Washington, D.C, this may be the year that changes the course for efforts to end child marriage.