Plan UK’s new report, Breaking Vows: Early and Forced Marriage and Girls’ Education, examines the causes and consequences of child marriage, highlighting the impact on girls’ education and life chances. One girl below the age of 18 is married off every three seconds worldwide, it reminds us.
The report begins: “One in every three girls in the developing world is married by the age of 18. One in seven marries before they reach the age of 15. In countries like Niger, Chad, Mali, Bangladesh, Guinea and the Central African Republic (CAR), the rate of early and forced marriage is 60 per cent and over. It is particularly high in South Asia (46 per cent) and in sub-Saharan Africa (38 per cent). Early and forced marriage is most prevalent where poverty, birth and death rates are high, there is greater incidence of conflict and civil strife and lower levels of overall development, including schooling, employment and healthcare. Although the average age at first marriage is gradually increasing worldwide, the pace of change is slow. In Nepal, Guinea and Bangladesh, for instance, the average age at first marriage for girls still remains below 18. Early and forced marriage discriminates against girls and abuses their rights on an unimaginable scale.”
In the time it has taken to read this article 14 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