Thursday, 1 August 2013

Groups Call for U.S. to Fight Harder Against Child Marriages

Groups Call for U.S. to Fight Harder Against Child Marriages

Child brides in rural Senegal at work. Marriage before the age of 18 is a generally common practice in Senegal.

WASHINGTON, Aug 1 2013 (IPS) - Advocacy groups are urging for partnerships between governmental organisations and private sector businesses to better prevent child marriage and combat the economic, development and health problems it causes.

A recently released report by Rachel Vogelstein, a fellow at the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the non-partisan think tank Council on Foreign Relations, highlights strategic and moral reasons for U.S. involvement in the issue.

“Child marriages are a form of gender-based violence,” said Vogelstein at a discussion on her study on Wednesday. “It curtails education for young girls, which in turn stifles their economic progress.”

According to the United Nations, in 2011 almost 70 million women—or one in three women between the ages of 20 and 24—had been married under the age of 18. In South Asia, 46 percent of women aged 20 to 24 were married before 18 and 18 percent were married by age 15. India accounts for 40 percent of all child marriages worldwide.

“This is often just seen as the norm in many countries. That’s just how life has been,” Lakshmi Sundaram, global coordinator of a London-based advocacy group, Girls Not Brides, told IPS.


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