Poverty, customs/traditions and teen pregnancy key drivers of Child marriages

Child marriage is a form of child abuse and is highly prevalent in the world. According to girlsnotbrides.org; an Indian website, about 15 million girls are married off before their 18th birthdays every year, that is 75 million girls in 5 years and a total of 150 million girls married off at a young age in 10 years. These statistics are very alarming and call for an immediate response against the practice of child marriages. Child marriages affect girls negatively, hindering them from living normal lives as it robs them of their youth and innocence. Further, their health, education, safety and social and financial independence is also put in jeopardy along the way.

For instance, girls may have healthy complications because their bodies are not ready for sexual intercourse and also during pregnancy and child birth. Furthermore, with the world being patriarchal, assigning the female gender with domestic roles such as cleaning, cooking, knitting, nurturing children and taking care of the male spouse as housewives, many girls are forced to give up on their education after being married off, thus escalating the number of uneducated girls living in low quality standard of life.



Looking at the practice, I noticed there are three notable factors that have continuously and consistently contributed to the escalation of child marriages despite law enforcement putting up laws against it.

Firstly, despite the world having embraced civilization, establishing human rights and casting away old horrific and barbaric practices against humanity, the practice of child marriages is still prevalent in the remotest places and regions of the world. In some cultures, girls are eligible for marriage at an age as young as 12 years and these girls are married off to older or younger men on the basis of customs and traditions of a tribe, clan or ethnic group of people.

Secondly, child marriages are also prevalent in urban areas and this vice is driven by poverty. While other girls take themselves into marriages and sex work to alleviate their poverty levels, some parents and guardians living in impoverished states are forced to give their girl children out in marriage for a prodigious amount of money in view of of surviving from lack of food, shelter and other basic necessities.

Furthermore, teen pregnancy is also a driver of child marriages. With a high number of girls engaging in sexual activities with boys and men due to peer and sexual pressure due to puberty and the need for fancy items and food at school like phones, purses, chocolates, flowers and so forth, many girls fall pregnant early and fall out of school in the process. Further, these girls are forced to go and live with the father of their children despite them being young. For example, when a girl falls pregnant in Zambia, the boy or man who has impregnated her is asked to pay a certain amount of money for damage and keep the girl in his house till they get married. In such cases, the girl may be forced to engage in more sexual activities.

Therefore, I believe that it is important that these three factors are tackled before child marriages can be eliminated completely. Firstly, governments should ensure that people in rural areas are sensitized and made aware of the demerits of their practices especially if it is done in devotion to customs and traditions. This can be done through workshop, seminars and conferences.

Furthermore, alleviating poverty should be the first priority of every country in world. With peer pressure and pop culture suddenly taking the spotlight in the young girls’ lives, It is also important that girls are highly educated about sexuality in their homes, schools and churches too unlike allowing them to learn about it on the internet and through friends as they may make them to make rash regrettable decisions and one of is teen pregnancy.

Moreover, guardians should not rush into marrying off a pregnant child. They should instead focus on helping the girl get back in track with her normal life after birth which includes returning to school to acquire an education.

Did you love my article? Do you knowother factors that are major drivers of child marriages? Do you know others ways through which we can fight against child marriages? Please leave your comments down below. I would love to hear about them after all this is a fight for all of us.

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