Together Girls Not Brides members in over 20 countries celebrated International Day of the Girl last month by calling for critical actions to improve the lives of girls globally, most notably by ending child marriage, a practice that affects more than 14 million girls every year.
The determination of activists to speak out against child marriage is a clear sign that there is a growing global movement committed to pay greater attention in international development to the needs and rights of adolescent girls.
This year’s theme was “Innovating for girls’ education”. Girls Not Brides members seized this opportunity to make the case that to improve education globally we must end child marriage. They also emphasised that providing girls with quality, safe and accessible schooling will be a crucial part of efforts to end child marriage.
Girls Not Brides members shared this message with the education community in different ways:
Activities took place at all levels: from community dialogues and youth-led street theatre, to efforts to encourage local and national media to report on child marriage, to meetings with ministers and other high-level policy makers to persuade them of the role they can play in efforts to end child marriage.
- They wrote to their national or state Ministers for education, urging them to ensure that girls, including married girls, have access to quality primary and secondary education;
- They reached out to school principals and administrators to inform them about the vulnerability of female students to child marriage;
- They organised activities at school to inform girls that they have the right to choose if, when and whom they marry;
Online too, Girls Not Brides supporters were firm in their belief that girls deserve to study, not marry, and thousands of people added their voice to our call to end child marriage. Thank you for your invaluable support. Together, we can pressure governments into taking concrete action to keep girls in school, prevent child marriage and improve girls’ lives.
Explore the interactive map below to find out how Girls Not Brides members rallied for change on Day of the Girl 2013.
In the time it has taken to read this article 21 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 3 seconds