Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Child Marriage: A Devastating Practice That Continues to Harm Young Girls

Bandung (Indonesia), Apr 3 ( : Child marriage has been a longstanding problem that affects many countries and communities worldwide. Despite laws and efforts to prevent it, this harmful practice continues to persist, causing long-term suffering for young brides.

In this article, we will discuss the harmful effects of child marriage and the factors that contribute to it, including poverty, social norms, and gender inequality. We will also examine how the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the problem and the steps that can be taken to prevent it.

The Harmful Effects of Child Marriage

Marrying before the age of 18 is a violation of human rights. Young brides face many challenges, including a lower chance of continuing their education, a higher risk of domestic violence, and a greater risk of death due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

Their offspring are also more likely to be stillborn or die during the first month of life. These devastating consequences can have lifelong impacts on young girls and their families.

Factors That Contribute to Child Marriage

Child marriage persists due to a variety of factors, including poverty, social norms, and gender inequality. In some communities, child marriage is viewed as a way to secure a girl’s future and protect her from poverty or sexual promiscuity. In other cases, it may be seen as a way to preserve traditions or customs.

These cultural and social habits can be very difficult to change, as they are deeply ingrained in the community. Poverty is also a major contributing factor, as families may see child marriage as a way to alleviate financial burdens or gain economic benefits.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Child Marriage

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem of child marriage globally. The economic impact of the pandemic has led to increased poverty and unemployment, making it difficult for families to meet their basic needs.

Many parents can no longer afford to support their daughters’ education, leading them to marry them off to alleviate their financial burden. Additionally, the death of a parent because of COVID can also increase the likelihood that a female orphan will be married off, since family members may find it hard to support her.

Preventing Child Marriage

Preventing child marriage requires a multifaceted approach that addresses the underlying factors contributing to the problem. Religious and community leaders can use their moral authority to promote change in their communities and advocate to prevent early marriage.

Parents and other adult relatives can take the lead in giving young girls more options in life so that marriage is not always the solution to the family’s problems. Marrying off girls young costs trillions of dollars, according to the World Bank.

Providing girls with access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, along with strengthening child protection systems and enforcing laws that prohibit child marriage, are essential to ending this harmful practice.

Child marriage is a devastating practice that continues to harm young girls globally. It is important to address the underlying factors that contribute to the problem and take proactive measures to prevent it.

By working together with religious leaders, community leaders, parents, and other stakeholders, we can create a safer and brighter future for young girls everywhere.

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