Every day around the world, approximately 39,000 girls under the age of 18 get married, often against their will. 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.

Passed on February 28, 2013, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) created a mandate for the U.S. State Department and other federal agencies to produce a comprehensive strategy to end child marriage. More than a year has passed since VAWA, and we are still waiting for that strategy.

On the one-year anniversary of the signing of VAWA, IWHC and Girls Not Brides USA launched #Lead4Girls, a campaign that calls on Secretary of State John Kerry to fulfill the State Department’s mandate under VAWA. 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.

Let’s give girls a choice, and a chance, for a real future. Join us in calling on Secretary Kerry to #Lead4Girls and end child worldwide.

Sign up for our action alerts.

 

Latest News

A Big Win for Girls Worldwide

The State Department's new strategy looks at the myriad needs girls have: from going to school, staying safe, developing life skills and self-esteem, and choosing if, when, and to whom they will marry.

Who Runs the World: Girls!

The rural community of Kabula in Northern Nigeria is a matrilineal society. But even with a woman in charge, traditional gender norms are entrenched.

IWHC Applauds New Global Strategy to Improve the Lives of Girls

  • March 15, 2016

Today the State Department released the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls, the first of its kind to focus on girls worldwide and the myriad challenges they face.

Ending Child Marriage, One Play at a Time

Laws against child marriage are important, but groups like Aahung are showing how community outreach is just as critical.

Our Top Wins in 2015

2015 was a momentous year for women—a year of impressive achievements but also extreme hardship. Here are our highlights for 2015.

More