The pandemic highlights and exacerbates the challenges women and girls confront in obtaining basic menstrual products and education. One nonprofit working to address this situation is Days for Girls.
COVID-19 has left no one untouched, but it has had an especially pernicious impact on girls—most particularly those from already marginalized communities.
From a dramatic rise in sex trafficking in Malawi, to spiraling rates of sexual violence in India, from subversive restrictions on access to abortion in the U.S. to an increase in teen pregnancy and female genital mutilation in Kenya, it is clear that COVID-19 is an existential threat to gender equality.
New studies by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) reveal the grim consequences of child marriage in the U.S., which occurs at particularly high rates in North Carolina. North Carolina is becoming a common destination for adults to take children when their marriage is illegal in their home states. Between 2000 and 2015, almost 9,000 minors were listed on marriage license applications in North Carolina.
But there’s a simple solution: Set the minimum age of marriage at 18, without exceptions.
Globally, nine out of 10 children are in lockdown in their homes as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. But for too many young girls, their homes are not safe places. Experience shows that during health emergencies, children—especially young girls—face increased risk of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Forced marriage is a serious but neglected form of gender-based violence in the United States. And more often than not, it is just one part of a spectrum of other harms that a woman who is forced to marry may face in her lifetime.
Too Young to Wed’s 2018 Girls’ Champion Award winner, Hauwa, bravely took the stage at the 2019 Women Deliver conference and shared her story of survival and courage with the world.
It will take more than 16 days—but if governments, U.N. agencies and civil society activists work together toward ending child, early and forced marriage, a world where every girl can control her own future is possible.
Couples tying the knot in the U.S. can now do their part to save children from forced marriages around the world—simply by purchasing and registering for the products and wedding experiences they want and need.
We at Save the Children have put gender equality at the top of our agenda. On this International Day of the Girl, we’re calling on the U.S. government to do the same.
Child marriage affects 650 million women and 150 million men worldwide—including the United States and Europe. That’s one girl every 23 seconds.