child marriage

At Plan, we've supported young people who have intervened to stop child marriages in Bangladesh, youth activists who have helped raise the legal age of marriage in Malawi, and in Pakistan, young campaigners successfully making sure that their provincial governments deliver on a promise of free and compulsory education.
Growing numbers of people are becoming aware - and becoming angry - of injustices that are based simply on sex, both in the UK and worldwide. Along with high profile celebrity interventions, social media campaigns driven by young people are bringing these issues to the fore, while on issues such as Female Genital Mutilation, taboos that have long remained intact are being broken. Girls' and women's rights are on the radar of politicians, too.
It's a very black stain against it that the government of India has refused to dismantle a legal framework that allows a man to have non consensual sex with any woman (whatever his relationship to her), or to dismantle a legal framework that allows a man to legally have sex (consensual or not) with a fifteen year old child.
I'm really pleased to announce a ground-breaking new partnership between Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) and UNICEF that will improve the lives of thousands of children and young people living in tea communities in Assam, and reduce their vulnerability to exploitation and trafficking.
Thousands of girls - represented by Girlguiding - have entered the political fray, many for the first time. In Girls Matter, they make eight demands of politicians to put girls' interests at the heart of what they do across government. As an act of collective lobbying by a group of young women, it is unprecedented.
The lesson here is that child marriage does not "only" affect fourteen million girls a year; the consequences are far reaching. Early and forced child marriage not only violates the universal declaration of human rights, but it also prevents us from having an inclusive and prosperous global economy. Something that even the most conservative economist or demanding shareholder can agree is bad news, indeed.
Then there's the physical harm to girls. In some cases, it's fatal. A child bride is likely to become sexually active at a young age, while her body is still developing, and she may not have much understanding of reproduction and sexual health. Child brides often find it difficult to discuss family planning methods or sexual practices openly with their husbands. And they often face pressure from family members to become pregnant quickl
This summit, attended by Heads of State, ministers and experts from all over the world is an opportunity to do so. While I am there, I will be thinking of women like Aliah from Yemen, who tried to run away from her new 30-year-old husband when she was 16, only to have her family beat her and force her back. Years later, those same widespread beliefs and traditions held in her community then forced her to marry off her own 16-year-old daughter. As we gather at the summit we must remember stories like these. These practices violate the fundamental rights of women and girls. Making child marriage and FGM illegal is critical. But it's not enough if nothing is done to challenge strong-held beliefs passed down through generations.
In more than two decades in the charity sector, I've been involved in a lot of campaigns about a lot of different issues. I've spent my professional life fighting for the rights of the most vulnerable children in the world and in that time we've take many strides forward in improving healthcare, sanitation and education systems. But it's rare that I've felt so optimistic about the potential for change as I do about the chance we have in the coming months and years to get it right for the world's girls.
An Iranian child bride, forced to marry at the age of 14, is to be hanged in Iran after killing her husband. Razieh Ebrahimi