End Child Marriage Pass the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage

Child Marriage

Child marriage occurs when children, generally girls, younger than 18 years old (but even as young as 7) are married. This usually occurs against their will for economic and/or traditional reasons.

The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act

Back in 2009, the "International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act" passed through the senate unanimously, but was stopped in the House. It's goal, as stated in the name, is to prevent child marriage and save girls from the negative effects of it. Reasons such as it being extremely expensive and may involve abortions (the U.S. can't support abortion due to the Hyde Amendment) were cited in decisions to deny the bill.

Our Goal

The budget of the U.S. government is trillions of dollars; the amount of money needed for "International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act" is under 10 million. In the broad scheme of things, the expenses of this act are a fraction of a percentage in government spending. Furthermore, the act does not support abortions, rather, it aims to help girls married early that have premature and dangerous pregnancies. For these reasons, our goal is to have the "International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act" reintroduced and passed in both the senate and house.

Global Statistics

  • Over 700 million women today were married before they were 18. Niger specifically has the most prevalent child marriage in the world with 77 percent of women from 20-49 were married before being 18. (UNICEF)

Effects of Child Marriage on communities and nations

Effect on Communities and Nations

  • Married girls in sub-saharan Africa are at a greater risk of contracting the HIV virus
  • Married women in rural Uganda have higher rates of HIV/AIDS than young unmarried women
  • 30% of married girls in Zambia feel that they are at great or moderate risk for contracting HIV
  • Many poor families are motivated by economic gains to marry off their daughters
  • Girls who were married before 18 were twice as likely to report being beaten, slapped or threatened by their husbands than girls who married later
  • Girls who were married before 18 were three times as likely to report being forced to have sex without their consent in just the past 6 months of being asked

Residual Effects

  • High incidences of child marriage in Afghanistan are directly connected to communal poverty
  • Child marriage is most prevalent amongst poor countries, and is most concentrated in poor communities
  • Most girls married as children do not receive an education, meaning that the opportunity for academic advancement is significantly lower.

Violations of the United Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

  • Article 4, No slavery: The older person controls the younger people
  • Article 5, no torture: the forced child birthing is torture for younger kids
  • Article 16, marriage and family: you have to a family and marriage IF you want it.
  • Article 24, right to play: being married as a child steals their childhood
  • Article 26, right to education: most child brides stop going to school
  • Article 28, fair and free world: they are not free the are basically slaves.

Plan of Action

Political commitment at the highest levels

First and foremost, commitment from the people in power is quintessential. They are the only ones with the funds, ability to enforce, and influence great enough to make anything happen. This is the reason why getting the "International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act" is so important. Making it part of legislation will get the highest political leaders involved with stopping the process.

Increased access a to girls’ education

Thousands of these girls have accepted child marriage as the way of life and aren't aware of the opportunities they are missing. If education for everyone, male and female, is made into law, then girls can learn that they don't exist only to make babies.

Educated girls can get jobs and then get money. Their education doesn't just improve their health, it improves the poverty level of the whole country!

Changing cultural norms

Child marriage primarily exists because it is said to be tradition. However, it only functions to keep men in power. More importantly, it is not required in any of the religions practiced in the area. If communities can be taught why child marriage is completely unnecessary, they can took a huge step towards stopping the practice all together.

Create an enforcement comprised of people who have been hurt by the practice before

Like almost any change, not everyone is going to like it. For that reason, there needs to be enforcement. With a group of people who've been hurt directly, or even indirectly, by child marriage, an enforcement can be made that will be honest, passionate, and therefore very effective.

UN Sustainability Development Goals

The UN has created a list of 17 sustainable development goals to aim for in the next decade. A few of these relate directly to stopping child marriage and because the U.S. is part of the UN, it has a moral responsibility to participate in stopping the issue.

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Child marriage is not promoting well-being whatsoever. In fact, it is doing just the opposite to millions of women. For this reason, this goal cannot be achieved without the eradication of child marriage.

Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Gender is not equal when women are prevented from education, forced to marry against their will, beaten, and raped. Goal 5 will never even make progress if child marriage isn't addressed.

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

Finally, the state of women suffering from child marriage is certainly not equal to the opportunity in the united states. This tenth goal wants inequality to be maintained in every country. In order to do this, child marriage must be stopped.


As addressed earlier, none of the things explained in this spark page is possible without political leadership. The funding, power, and influence necessary to stop child marriage completely only resides the highest members of the government. That's why the "International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act" needs to be reintroduced and passed. If the senate can pass it unanimously, then the house can too. All that is needed is another chance with a new understanding that without it, millions upon millions of young girls will die of diseases, rape, beatings, and pregnancies and poverty will continue to run rampant.

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