Ending Child Marriage International Protesting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act

By Peyton Jay, Andy Licata, Colin Nicholson, and Nick Xydakis

Definition of Child Marriage

Definitions according to unicef - Child marriage, defined as a formal marriage or informal union before age 18, is a reality for both boys and girls, although girls are disproportionately the most affected. Child marriage is widespread and can lead to a lifetime of disadvantage and deprivation.

Facts everyone needs to know

In all regions, girls with higher levels of schooling are less likely to marry as children. In particular, girls with secondary schooling are up to six times less likely to marry as children when compared to girls who have little or no education. Girls younger than 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s, and pregnancy is the leading cause of death worldwide for women ages 15 to 19. A study in Kenya and Zambia by University of Chicago researchers found that among 15- and 19-year-old girls who are sexually active, being married increased their chances of having HIV by more than 75 percent.

Cultural Relativity

It is not culturally relative as it oppresses specific individuals and in turn ultimately violates several human rights according to the UDHR.

UDHR Violations

Several rights are violated, such as article 1 - Free and Equal, article 16 marriage and family, article 26 - education, and article, 28 - A fair Free world, 30 - the right to have rights. Child marriage violates these rights by making women lower than men, does not give children the right to choose their spouse, hinders women’s ability to gain an education, and through all of this creates an unfair and unequal world.

Effects upon communities, nations and girls

In India and Pakistan, increased school enrollment has likewise been associated with a decline in marriage among girls younger than 14. In these same countries, more than 75 percentage of people live on less than $2 a day. Girls who were married before 18 were twice as likely to report being beaten. Child brides often show signs of child sexual abuse and post traumatic stress. After marriage, young girls access to formal and even non formal education is severely limited.

How to End Child Marriage

In all regions, girls with higher levels of schooling are less likely to marry as children. More than half of the girls in Bangladesh, Mali, Mozambique and Niger are married before age 18. In these same countries, more than 75% of people live on less than $2 a day. In Mali, 91% of the population lives on less than $2 a day. A survey found that girls who were married before 18 were twice as likely to report being beaten, slapped or threatened by their husbands than girls who were married later. They were 3 times more likely to report being forced to have sex without their consent in the previous 6 months.

How does ending Child Marriage help achieve the UN's 17 Sustainability Development Goals.

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

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

Goal 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries

Conclusion

The best course of action to take in opposition to these rights being violated is to reconsider the the International Protecting Girls by preventing child marriage act. This would ultimately end several of these violations, and further progress in countries in which child marriage is a clear cut issue.

If the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act is not instated, several hundreds upon thousands of young girls will have their human rights violated for years to come. Not to mention the countries they are a part of will be limited in terms of their development. That is why this act being reconsider is essential to protecting human rights, a right of its own that the U.S. should be practicing, and to furthering the progress of several nations.

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