Why child marriage isn’t an easy win for campaigners

Hand washing

Today is International Day of the Girl Child, a day that celebrates girls and girlhood. It’s clear why international campaigners argue marriage has no place in childhood.  Here in Ethiopia the government has pledged to eliminate the practice by 2025. Global concern about child marriage hinges on lost opportunities for girls, human rights issues, and from a purely health perspective, the increased risks of premature pregnancy, maternal and infant mortality and fistulas.

However, what international campaigners sometimes find hard to accept is that local concerns for girls’ wellbeing and protection from abduction, sexually-transmitted diseases, pregnancy, unsafe abortions and childbearing resulting in stigma are often the reasons given for promoting early marriage and for resistance to the ban on marriage. This is especially true for older teenagers who are already sexually active.

(read the rest of this blog on Thomson Reuters Foundation News where it first appeared on 11 October.)