Education is a powerful strategy to end child marriage and ensure girls can fulfil their potential.
The longer a girl stays in school, the less likely she is to be married before the age of 18 and have children during her teenage years. 
When girls have access to 12 years of safe, quality education, the benefits are widely felt. Educated girls develop skills, knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions including if, when and whom to marry.
Being in school also supports the idea that girls are still children and too young to marry.
The protective impact of education is greatest at secondary level
The more years a girl spends in education, the less the risk of her marrying as a child. Secondary education is an even stronger and more consistent protection against child marriage than primary school education. 
The effect of girls’ education is intergenerational
The education of girls in one generation can delay marriage in their daughters’ generation. A study in Ethiopia shows that girls whose mothers are educated are two times less likely to marry under age 18 than girls whose mothers are uneducated. 
Governments need to invest in getting girls into school, keeping girls in school and making sure that school is a safe place to be. Priorities for action include:
- Working across sectors to guarantee access to 12 years of quality, gender-responsive education for all children, including girls at risk of child marriage and married girls.
- Creating inclusive girl-friendly schools free from violence.
- Ensuring girls have continued and safe access to education in crisis situations, including COVID-19.
-  Wodon, Q, et al., 2018, Missed Opportunities: The High Cost of Not Educating Girls, Washington, DC: The World Bank.
-  Ibid.
-  Malhotra, A., and Elnakib, S., 2021, “Evolution in the evidence base on child marriage: 2000-2019”, UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage.
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