This is a bargain! For the cost of a stamp you could free up a bunch of resources to fight child marriage.
Yes... I said child marriage. I read up on it and it is more prevalent than you think. In the bill that is before the US congress you will find the following statistics:
- In 2005, the Department of State conducted a world-wide survey and found child marriage to be a concern in 64 out of 182 countries surveyed, with child marriage most common in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of South Asia.
- In Ethiopia’s Amhara region, about half of all girls are married by age 14 with 95 percent not knowing their husbands before marriage, 85 percent unaware they were to be married, and 70 percent reporting their first sexual initiation within marriage taking place before their first menstrual period, according to a 2004 Population Council survey.
- n some areas of northern Nigeria, 45 percent of girls are married by age 15 and 73 percent by age 18, with age gaps between girls and the husbands averaging between 12 and 18 years.
- Between half and three-quarters of all girls are married before the age of 18 in the following countries: Niger, Chad, Mali, Bangladesh, Guinea, the Central African Republic, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, and Nepal, according to Demographic Health Survey data.
- Child marriage can result in bonded labor or enslavement, commercial sexual exploitation, and violence against the victims, according to UNICEF.
- Most countries with high rates of child marriage have a legally established minimum age of marriage, yet child marriage persists due to strong traditional norms and the failure to enforce existing laws.
- In Afghanistan, where the legal age of marriage for girls is 16 years, 57 percent of marriages involve girls below the age of 16, including girls younger than 10 years, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
- Investments in girls’ schooling, creating safe community spaces for girls, and programs for skills building for out-of-school girls are all effective and demonstrated strategies for preventing child marriage and creating a pathway to empower girls by addressing conditions of poverty, low status, and norms that contribute to child marriage.
"Child marriage is a massive human rights issue throughout the world, and it's completely indefensible. Do you have a daughter? A sister? A niece? Where should she be in her early teens--in labor or in a classroom? In the last 8 years, 60 million girls in developing countries were married before they turned 18. Each day 25,000 additional young girls become brides. Though the United States spends over $450 million on international development annually, child marriage prevents 50% of girls in developing countries from accessing the programs it supports."
For the cost of a stamp
Write your congress person and ask them to support the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2009 (HR 2103)
If passed the bill will do the following:
- enable the US government to provide assistance, including through multilateral, nongovernmental, and faith-based organizations, to prevent the incidence of child marriage in developing countries and to promote the educational, health, economic, social, and legal empowerment of girls and women
- integrate protection & prevention initiative for underage girls into current programs that receive assistance from the US government
- modify the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to make countries who have a child marriage rates above 40% in any regognized geographical area ineligible for assistance from the US.
Other articles for education on the topic:
Too Young To Wed (Downloadable report)