Guatemala has the fifth highest prevalence of child, early and forced marriage and unions (CEFMU) in Latin American and the Caribbean. This means 30% of Guatemalan girls marry or enter a union before the age of 18.
In Guatemala – as in Latin America and the Caribbean more broadly – CEFMU reflects the inequality, lack of opportunities and situations of insecurity and violence in society.
CEFMU hinders girls’ and adolescents’ rights and lives, so addressing the practice is essential to achieving gender equality.Joseline Velasquez, Mesa de la Niña, Guatemala
CEFMU is a persistent and complex issue, which often takes the form of informal unions in Guatemala. Addressing it requires collective action by governments and regional bodies, civil society organisations, communities and families.
Responses to CEFMU must focus on addressing its root causes to avoid the assumption that the solution is just to ban itAlma Burciaga, Girls Not Brides
It is in this context that a group of 21 organisations and four individual girl and adolescent rights activists – all members of the Mesa a Favor de las Niñas y Adolescentes – came together to announce the formation of the first ever National Partnership to Address Child, Early and Forced Marriages and Unions in Guatemala in July 2022. This is also the first National Partnership of its kind in Latin America and the Caribbean.
National Partnerships are networks of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage member organisations who believe in the power of collective action to address CEFMU and ensure that girls and adolescents can fulfil their potential in all aspects of their lives.
With the support of Girls Not Brides, these organisations and individuals will join forces and voices to position CEFMU as an urgent issue in Guatemala, and to demand concrete actions to address it.
During the National Partnership launch event in Guatemala City, La Mesa de la Niña and Girls Not Brides urged the Government and civil society to commit to working together – from their own spheres of influence – to ensure all girls and adolescents in Guatemala are free to make choices about their lives and bodies, their present and their future.
In the time it has taken to read this article 23 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 2 seconds
Child, early and forced marriage and unions in Guatemala
Brief outlining the status, causes, consequences, legal and policy frameworks, and recommendations for addressing child marriage in Guatemala.
No to passing Legislative Initiative 5257, which puts the girls, adolescents and women of Guatemala at risk
Tackling the Taboo in Latin America and the Caribbean: Sexuality and gender-transformative programmes to address child, early and forced marriage and unions
Report and case studies with insights on how control of adolescent girls’ sexuality drives child marriage and early unions in Latin America and the Caribbean, and gender-transformative responses by community-based organisations.