Child marriage often means the end of education for girls. It is closely linked to girls dropping out of school, denying children their right to the education they need for their personal development, their preparation for adulthood, and their ability to contribute to their family and community.
Out of school and in marriage, child brides are denied the ability to learn the skills that could help them earn an income and lift them and their children out of poverty. Married girls who would like to continue schooling may be both practically and legally excluded from doing so.
Child marriage is a major barrier to progress on girls’ education. Over sixty per cent of child brides in developing countries have had no formal education. Many girls aren’t in education because schools are inaccessible or expensive, because of the traditional role girls are expected to play in the household, or simply because parents don’t see the value of education for their daughters. Child marriage and a lack of education for girls are both underpinned by girls’ low status.
Education: a key strategy to address child marriage
Education can also be one of the most powerful tools to enable girls to avoid early marriage and fulfil their potential. The longer a girl stays in school, the less likely she is to be married before the age of 18 and have children during her teenage years.
Educated girls develop skills, knowledge and are empowered to claim their rights. This allows them to make free and informed decisions, including if, when and whom to marry. Being in school can help support the perception that girls are still children and are therefore not of a suitable age to marry.
If girls are able to stay in school and avoid early marriage, the benefits are widely felt. One additional year of secondary schooling alone boosts girls’ earning potential by 15-25 percent.