Each year IWHC issues a publication highlighting the “Top Ten Wins for Women’s Health and Rights” for that year. This week on Akimbo, we’ll be unveiling our latest picks for the top ten wins for women’s health and rights of 2009. Click here to view the list from last year.
In February, members of the Yemeni national Parliament endorsed a new law to combat the dangerous practice of child marriage. Under the new provision, the minimum age of marriage for both boys and girls was set to 17. This momentous decision came in the wake of the case of a 9-year-old Yemeni girl who was forced into marriage and then made the news by obtaining a divorce, only to die in childbirth at age 12.
What’s Next: Despite a petition signed by 23 Members of Parliament to overturn the bill, the law remains valid. However, Yemeni legislators have yet to design any mechanism for implementation, and globally, the issue of child marriage remains a significant threat to the health and rights of girls. If current patterns continue, more than 100 million girls in the developing world will be married during the next 10 years. These marriages occur despite the fact that national laws often prohibit it and that international human rights documents state that marriage should be entered into with the free and full consent of both partners.
In the United States House of Representatives, provisions for programs to prevent and mitigate child marriage were included in the State Department Reauthorization bill, which passed on June 10, 2009. The Senate has not yet introduced its version of the State Department Reauthorization. IWHC and a strong coalition of advocates continue to work with Senate staff to ensure that the Senate draft includes such provisions.
Find out More:
- Read a highly personal testimony to the power of education in “School Can Change a Girl’s Life“, a blog entry by Sunita Rathore.
- Visit the child marriage page on our website to find out what the U.S. is doing legislatively to end the harmful practice, and what you can do to get involved.
- View IWHC’s factsheet, “Child Marriage: Girls 14 and Younger at Risk“