Ending Child Marriage: Child marriage laws and their limitations

While many legal restrictions have been employed to address child marriage globally, as many as 7.5 million girls are married illegally each year. This has a profound impact on the girl, her family, and society as a whole. Child brides are associated with poorer health outcomes, early pregnancies, incomplete educations, and greater likelihoods of living in poverty. Child marriage is widely considered a violation of human rights, and has been included as a target for elimination under the Sustainable Development Goals.

This report, prepared by Save the Children and the World Bank, includes data from 2015 to 2017. Within this period, 10 of 112 countries changed their child marriage laws. However, many girls are still vulnerable to child marriage, and additional measures beyond legal restrictions are needed to address this ongoing challenge. The report stresses the need for governments to adopt action plans with intervention strategies to delay marriage. Recommended strategies include keeping adolescent girls in school, as well as addressing discrimination and social norms that currently limit opportunities for girls. These measures need to be actively pursued by governments, with the support of the international community.

Published 2017-10-11

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