THE girl child is quite unique and vulnerable in our society today, as they seem the victim of child marriage. For every girl child who is subjected to an early marriage, she is much more predisposed to complications of pregnancy and delivery processes. She faces higher risk of social violence and has less decision making abilities.
The international community is increasingly aware of the negative impacts of child marriage. In the Dominican Republic, an upper middle income country where more than one in three girls still marry before 18, new country data by UNICEF and the World Bank Group on the economic impacts of child marriage will feed into a campaign to end the practice.
Girls often get married because of pressure from parents and relatives, poverty and lack of alternatives. Limited access to quality education and families’ prioritization of boys’ rather than girls’ education–in part because of limited job opportunities–contribute to perpetuate the practice.
“We are faced with long distances to primary schools. Girls on their way to school meet men. Later, some get pregnant and drop out of school,” said a parent from Uganda. “Also, we have no vocational school that will train our girls after they complete primary and lower secondary education, so we see it as a waste of resources to educate girls.”
However President of the World Bank, Jim Kim puts shares his thoughts on Child Marriage, a social menace, in a recent message on his LinkedIn page;
Fifteen million girls get married each year. Many drop out of school and give birth before age 18, perpetuating a cycle of lower earnings and lower educational attainment for themselves and their children.
Evidence shows that the best way to delay marriage is to keep girls in school. In 2016, we pledged $2.5 billion over five years for education projects to do just that – because each additional year of schooling pays off for girls and their societies. Empowering and educating girls are two of the best ways to stop poverty from being passed from generation to generation.
Ending child marriage is the right thing to do, both morally and economically.
Girls should be students, not brides
Excerpts From World Bank Group.