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Ending child marriage can help curb population growth

Robert J Walker, Executive Vice President of the Population Institute, argues that while population growth endangers people and planet alike, tackling child marriage in developing countries helps protect and empower girls and women – and lead to lower birth rates.

World population hits 7 billion, but there are easy ways to curb growth.


It doesn’t cost trillions of dollars to expand family planning options for women in developing countries. The UN estimates that there are 215 million women in the developing world who want to avoid a pregnancy, but who are not using a modern method of birth control. The UN estimates that providing them with access to contraceptives would cost $3.5 billion additionally a year, a fraction of the $125 billion that the US and other donor nations spend annually on aid to developing nations.

Lack of access to contraceptives, however, is only one of the reasons that women are not able to prevent pregnancies in developing countries. The larger challenge is delaying the age of marriage. Child marriages lead to early and dangerous pregnancies and high birth rates. Shockingly, an average of 25,000 girls a day become child brides. In rural Yemen, for example, girls are often married at the age of 9 or 10. That is why a group of former presidents and world leaders, called the Elders, has launched the international Girls Not Brides campaign aimed at ending the practice of child brides through partnerships with aid and nongovernmental organisations all over the world.

Read the full article on the Christian Science Monitor website.