Every year, 12 million girls marry before the age of 18. Child marriage a is more common among girls and adolescents who come from poor households, have lower levels of education and who live in rural areas. However, child marriage policy and programming often do not reach the girls who have been most marginalised.
This brief uses an intersectional approach to explore the factors that increase a girl’s individual risk of child marriage, and advocates for an inclusive approach to child marriage prevention and response.
- Multiple aspects of girls’ social and political identities – including gender, age, disability, sexuality, class, race, ethnicity, caste and citizenship – intersect and create unique experiences of discrimination and privilege. Intersectionality is a framework for understanding these factors and how they impact on child marriage.
- Intersectional programming and advocacy seek to include girls who are most at risk of child marriage – and girls who are already married – by considering the dynamics of exclusion and discrimination that impact their lives.
- Guaranteeing equal rights for all girls – including those at risk of child marriage and already married – means ensuring that policies and programmes to address child marriage include those living in high-prevalence and marginalised contexts.
- Girls from populations most at risk of child marriage must be included in the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of advocacy and programming to end the practice.
- The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to end child marriage by 2030 will not be reached without delivering on Principle 2: “leave no one behind”. This means ending inequality, discrimination and exclusion.