Child Marriage

Girls 'Treated as Cattle': Child Brides Divide Pakistan

NBC News

A proposed law in Pakistan would increase the punishment for community members involved in child marriage. ICRW's Ann Warner, Senior Gender and Youth Specialist, describes how child marriage puts girls at risk in Pakistan and around the world.

A proposed law in Pakistan would increase the punishment for community members involved in child marriage. ICRW's Ann Warner, Senior Gender and Youth Specialist, describes how child marriage puts girls at risk in Pakistan and around the world.

It's Time to Unleash Girls' Potential

Devex

Girls have the power to transform the world, but they face many barriers along the way, including violence and early marriage. In this blog for Devex, ICRW's President, Sarah Degnan Kambou, writes about several initiatives that are working to break down barriers and lift up girls for generations to come. 

Girls have the power to transform the world, but they face many barriers along the way, including violence and early marriage. In this blog for Devex, ICRW's President, Sarah Degnan Kambou, writes about several initiatives that are working to break down barriers and lift up girls for generations to come. 

PRESS RELEASE: ICRW Honors International Women’s Day, Presents New Findings

ICRW today will commemorate International Women’s Day with a high level panel discussion at the National Press Club, where it will also release initial findings from its evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program in India created to prevent child marriage and increase girls’ value in society. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 5, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) today will commemorate International Women’s Day with a high level panel discussion at the National Press Club, where it will also release initial findings from its evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program in India created to prevent child marriage and increase girls’ value in society.

The discussion will explore dimensions of adolescent girls’ education and transition to adulthood, and why it is crucial to place them at the heart of the development agenda. The panel will include speakers from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Nike Foundation, Council on Foreign Relations and ICRW.

A highlight of ICRW’s findings from its study conducted in the Indian state of Haryana, will be shared during the discussion.  Launched in 1994, the program – called Apni Beti Apna Dhan (Our Daughter, Our Wealth) or ABAD – registered a cash bond to families living below the poverty line who enrolled their newborn daughters at the time of birth. Enrolled girls could cash their bond upon their 18th birthday on the condition they had remained unmarried. The first group of ABAD participants turned 18 in 2012.

The evaluation results illuminate the impact the program has had on the participants’ lives, including an increase in educational attainment in a region where adolescent girls often drop out of school well before their 18th birthday to marry.The groundbreaking study, “Impact on Marriage: Program Assessment of Conditional Cash Transfers (IMPACCT),” is funded by USAID. Further research findings on the ABAD schemes impact on girls’ lives and delaying their age at marriage will be released over the course of the next two years. 

“International Women’s Day is the perfect time to bring together experts in the field and share research on how to best serve adolescent girls and advance gender equality worldwide,” ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou said. “Between our findings and the impressive experiences brought by our expert panel, I think we will be contributing to and hopefully influencing the global discourse on gender equality. Through applied research, we are able to indicate a pathway to what is most effective in designing policies that yield real and significant results.”

Event proceeds will go to ICRW’s Turning Point Campaign, whose aim is to help change the course for adolescent girls worldwide through evidence-based advocacy.

# # #

Note to Editors:

Panelists

Julie Katzman, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, the Inter-American Development Bank (Moderator)

Carla Koppell, Chief Strategy Officer, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Priya Nanda,Group Director, Reproductive Health and Economic Rights, and Project Director, IMPACCT, ICRW Asia Regional Office

Howard Taylor, Vice President and Managing Director, Nike Foundation 

Rachel Vogelstein, Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy, Council on Foreign Relations, and Director of Women and Girls Programs, Office of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Clinton Foundation

Media Contact: 
Iba Dervishaj 202.542.0422
Mission Statement: 

For nearly 40 years, ICRW has been the premier applied research institute focused on women and girls. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in South Asia and Africa, ICRW provides evidence-based research to inform programs and policies that help alleviate poverty, promote gender equality and protect the rights of women and girls. 

ICRW featured on Press the President

Ahead of International Women's Day, ICRW's Suzanne Petroni, Senior Director, Gender, Population, and Development spoke to Press the President on the issue of child marriage, and highlighted facts and figures not commonly known.

Ahead of International Women's Day, ICRW's Suzanne Petroni, Senior Director, Gender, Population, and Development spoke to Press the President on the issue of child marriage, and highlighted facts and figures not commonly known. View video interview and article.

Five Things You May Not Know About Child Marriage

NPR

Suzanne Petroni, Senior Director, Gender, Population and Development at ICRW spoke to NPR about the harmful practice of child marriage. 

Suzanne Petroni, Senior Director, Gender, Population and Development at ICRW spoke to NPR about the harmful practice of child marriage. 

Girls fare worse in disasters

IRIN News

IRIN cites ICRW research in article on how girls fare worse in disasters due to pre-existing inequalities. 

IRIN cites ICRW research in article on how girls fare worse in disasters due to pre-existing inequalities. 

Inside The Tragic World Of Ethiopia's Child Brides

Donated cameras give a glimpse into the daily life of young Ethiopian wives.
Thu, 10/10/2013
Daily Beast

Cameras given to young Ethiopian brides provide a glimpse into the girls' lives, and into the impact of a CARE program meant to address their needs. 

Over the 24-hour period that marks International Day of the Girl on October 11, nearly 30,000 girls will abruptly lose their childhoods to marriage. To address the needs of these young brides, CARE launched an innovative project in Ethiopia providing more than 5,000 child brides— and their husbands—with rare access to vital information about family planning, maternal and infant health, financial management, income generating activities and the economic and family benefits of gender equality.

As part of ICRW's evaluation of the project, some participants were given cameras to document their daily lives. The resulting photos, some of which are featured in this Women in the World article, provide a glimpse into the lives of these girls, and also serve as a telling visual record of the impact that the CARE program has had. 

ICRW's Jeff Edmeades Joins InterAction for Leave #No1Behind Spreecast

ICRW's Jeffrey Edmeades joins InterAction, Water Aid and Handicap International for a video chat to discuss "forgotten populations" and how we can ensure that nobody is left behind in the post-2015 development agenda. 

ICRW's Jeffrey Edmeades joins InterAction, Water Aid and Handicap International to discuss "forgotten populations" and how we can ensure that nobody is left behind in the post-2015 development agenda.

BBC article on child marriage cites ICRW

BBC News

Nada al-Aldal, the 11-year-old Yemeni girl who evaded child marriage, has caught the attention of millions around the world as she shares her story, highlighting the plight of Yemen’s child brides. 

Nada al-Aldal, the 11-year-old Yemeni girl who evaded child marriage, has caught the attention of millions around the world as she shares her story, highlighting the plight of Yemen’s child brides. 

Press Release: Education critical – but not a silver bullet – to ending child marriage

ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou today addressed high level roundtable on approaches to ending child marriage – moderated by UN Special Envoy for Global Education, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown – during World Bank Education Summit in Washington, DC.

PRESS RELEASE: Education for girls is crucial to end child marriage but must be part of a broader effort, urge NGOs

17 April 2013

Getting the world’s 32 million out-of-school girls back into education will be crucial to end child marriage, state a group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on the eve of a high level roundtable on child marriage, but emphasise that there is no single solution to end a practice that denies an estimated 14 million girls a year their rights to health, education, choice and security.

Finance and education ministers from eight developing countries will gather in Washington DC this week for meetings at the World Bank on how to accelerate progress towards delivering quality education for children and youth by 2015. The meetings will be co-hosted by President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown. 

Members of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage invited to a parallel roundtable discussion on how to address child marriage welcome this week’s meetings and call upon the education community to recognise that progress on global education goals cannot be made without tackling child marriage. 

Girls Not Brides members invited to the child marriage roundtable include World Vision, the World YWCA, as well as CARE USA, International Center for Research on Women, and the International Women’s Health Coalition representing the Girls Not Brides USA Partnership. 

To end child marriage, education must be accessible, good quality, safe and girl-friendly

One of the clearest indications of our success or failure on international development goals will be the number of girls who have been married as children. The reality is that when girls are married young, their education and other opportunities to live a safe, healthy and empowered life, come to an end. 

Girls Not Brides members invited to the child marriage roundtable emphasise that keeping girls in school is critical to delaying the age of marriage. However, if education is to be a successful tool to help girls avoid early marriage, they need to have access to quality education and schools that are safe and girl-friendly. This must be available at the critical transition from primary to secondary schooling, a time when school dropout rates for girls escalate.

Education initiatives that help girls to avoid child marriage must include awareness-raising campaigns for parents and community leaders on the benefits of girls’ education, scholarship programmes for girls, female mentors and teachers, equipping schools with sex-segregated toilets and providing training for teachers on how to ensure a safe environment for all students.

The NGOs also warn education ministers not to overlook the 400 million girls and women who have already been married as children, and who have often been forced to drop out of school, unable to complete their education. Governments should ensure re-integration of married girls, who may be mothers, into formal schooling and other non-formal educational opportunities. 

Education alone is not enough to end child marriage. Cooperation is needed across government ministries and with civil society to end the practice.

“We know that child marriage is holding back progress in girls’ education and we welcome the education community’s growing interest in tackling this issue,” says Sarah Kambou, President of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). “We also know that the persistence of child marriage hinders our efforts to end gender inequality, poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS, maternal and new-born deaths. We’ll struggle to make progress in all of these areas until we commit to addressing the harmful, cross-cutting effects of the practice.”

“To achieve long-term change on issues like child marriage,” adds Lakshmi Sundaram, Global Coordinator, Girls Not Brides, “we need to ensure that large-scale structural efforts aimed at other goals such as health and poverty reduction, as well as education, are making the connection with child marriage prevention.”

The NGOs invited to the child marriage roundtable will urge the education and finance ministers to cooperate with ministries across their government, including ministries of health, justice, and social affairs, to make sure that ending child marriage is integrated throughout their social programming. They also urge governments to enforce minimum age of marriage laws and to implement legal, policy, administrative and other measures to end child, early and forced marriage in a single generation.

The NGOs will urge participating governments to partner with the civil society organisations working directly with adolescent girls, men and boys, religious leaders and their wider communities to scale up this work across regions and countries.

“Changing cultural practices and attitudes that allow child marriage to continue takes years, and requires a deep and lasting commitment to work with families and communities to make change happen,” says Denise Allen, World Vision International.

“By reaching out to communities and empowering the girls vulnerable to child marriage, we can begin to counter the idea that girls are somehow of lesser value,” says Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, General Secretary of the World YWCA. “It will take time but we must address the root causes of child, early and forced marriage, including poverty and gender inequality.”

Substantial support needed from donor governments

Donor governments and institutions should also play an active role in efforts to end child marriage.

“Child marriage is not a problem that just affects the eight countries represented at this meeting. It is a global problem,” states Jennifer Redner of the International Women’s Health Coalition and co-chair of Girls Not Brides USA. “In countries where it is practiced, child marriage undermines efforts to alleviate poverty, reduce maternal and infant deaths, and tackle violence against women and girls. Donors, national governments, multilateral agencies and the private sector need to commit substantial resources to prevent and respond to child marriage.”

Child marriage must feature in post-2015 development framework

The needs and rights of adolescent girls were largely unaddressed in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), argue the group of NGOs. To rectify this in the new development framework currently under discussion, participating governments at the meeting are called on to advocate for rates of child marriage to be included as an indicator of the welfare of adolescent girls.

“There are few clearer indicators of how adolescent girls are faring in a country than its rate of child marriage,” says Lakshmi Sundaram, Global Coordinator, Girls Not Brides. “By ensuring that ending child marriage is included in the new development goals, we can keep track of how well we are all doing in ensuring that adolescent girls can thrive.”

MEDIA CONTACTS:

For media enquiries and interview requests please contact:

Laura Dickinson, Girls Not Brides: media@GirlsNotBrides.org +44 7500 864871

Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of more than 250 non-governmental organisations committed to ending child marriage.

[ENDS]

Mission Statement: 

ICRW's mission is to empower women, advance gender equality and fight poverty in the developing world. To accomplish this, ICRW works with partners to conduct empirical research, build capacity and advocate for evidence-based, practical ways to change policies and programs.

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