Never mind how much I despise the use of statistics, the one that follows is one that I felt necessary to share. It is one that is at the heart of my studies within Women’s Law and Human Rights and one that arose during a conference I recently attended by the Canadian Embassy on forced child marriage. It is as follows…
‘720 million women alive today were married before the age of 18 – nearly 10% of the world population’ (Unicef, 2014)
Now, for those of you that know, the default victim for a child marriage predominantly lies on the shoulders of young women. Young women that through no fault of their own, are disempowered, deprived and encaged away from ever fulfilling their own fundamental human rights.
It is one of the many ‘harmful practices’ (instilled through religious and traditional doctrines) that have been passed on upon generation after generation. It is a practice that significantly deprives a young woman and in many situations a young child as young as eight or nine, of their right to personal development, to education, to safety and to their own natural biological maturing process (GirlsNotBrides, 2015). Often, child marriage is taken in LEDC’s by a means of obtaining a route to prosperity, to continuing the survival of the family, producing the next generation. The devastating implications of child marriage are by no means confined to poverty stricken nations, it effects each and everyone woman never mind their economic or social standing.
The components of forced marriage are intrinsically sewn into the fabrics of our society, together through collective action, through education, through administering pressure upon these components, may we then rigorously break down the barriers that continue to prevent women from their right to equality.