What is the impact of child marriage?

Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18. That is 28 girls every minute – married off too soon, endangering their personal development and wellbeing. With more young people on our planet than ever before, child marriage is a human rights violation that we must end to achieve a fairer future for all.

Child brides face huge challenges as a result of being married as children. Isolated, often with their freedom curtailed, girls frequently feel disempowered and are deprived of their fundamental rights to health, education and safety.

Neither physically nor emotionally ready to become wives and mothers, child brides are at greater risk of experiencing dangerous complications in pregnancy and childbirth, contracting HIV/AIDS and suffering domestic violence. With little access to education and economic opportunities, they and their families are more likely to live in poverty.

Communities and nations also feel the impact: systems that undervalue the contribution and participation of girls and women limit their own possibilities for growth, stability and transformation.

Child marriage and the SDGs

If we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and uphold the human rights of women and girls, we must act now to end child marriage. We won’t make progress on at least half of the SDGs without ending child marriage.

Find out more: How is child marriage linked to the Sustainable Development Goals?