Three extraordinary women who are rewriting the rules for girls
Every year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18. That’s nearly one girl every two seconds, forced to grow up too soon.
Millions of girls are missing out on their education and opportunities. They are exposed to health risks and violence and trapped in a cycle of poverty.
But change is happening. Women across the world are stepping up and rewriting the rules for girls.
Meet three trailblazers who are tackling child marriage and transforming girls’ lives.
Wafa Bani Mustafa, Jordan
Bani Mustafa has served as a Member of Parliament in Jordan for three consecutive terms.
Through her work in Parliament, she wants to raise the legal age of marriage and pave the way for more girls to finish their compulsory education which ends at 16 in Jordan.
As a female parliamentarian, Bani has to defy the odds and push for progress.
The majority of child marriage cases in her country are found among Syrian refugees. But Bani has a strong message that she wants to spread to all girls in Jordan and across the world:
“For society to reform, the practice has to stop.”
Tabbasum Adnan – Pakistan
Tabassum founded Pakistan’s first ever female Jirga (community council), for women in her community to take control over decisions that affect their lives.
“Working in this community made us realize that men never bother about women’s issues and they can’t understand the real issues facing women. That’s why we decided to form a women’s jirga.”
As a child bride at 13 and mother of four, Tabbasum suffered through domestic violence, until she divorced her husband of 20 years.
Finding herself homeless and without support, she vowed to fight back and stand up for women’s rights in Swat, Pakistan.
“When I hear about girls in my community who have been raped by their own relatives, it hurts me. There are girls being sold into child marriage.”
Ranjana Srivastava – India
Ranjana is the co-founder of Independent Thought. A human rights organisation that highlights child marriage as a human rights violation in India.
“The cruellest stories are of those girls who protest, cry for help and try their best to alert State agencies. But they are crushed by the might of their family and society.
In a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of India, Ranjana helped to change a 77 year old law that now classes sex with a bride under 18 as rape.
This law can be used to demand justice for girls across India.
Ranjana has not given up her campaign against child marriage and sees there is more to be done. Independent Thought is finding new ways to work through legal systems and end child marriage in India.
Ranjana’s message is clear: