On 22 July 2014, the UK and UNICEF co-hosted the first Girl Summit to mobilize domestic and international support to end child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) as well as female genital mutilation (FGM) within a generation. The connection between education and these two practices is critical in efforts to ending them.
The education a girl receives is the strongest predictor of the age she will marry. Child marriage is associated with lower levels of schooling for girls in every region of the world. FGM, likewise, is connected to education, albeit indirectly. FGM usually takes place before education is completed and sometimes before it commences. However, FGM prevalence levels are generally lower among women with higher education, indicating that the FGM status of a girl correlates with her educational attainment later in in life.
Internationally, child, early and forced marriage affects millions of girls every year. One in three girls in developing countries is married by the time she turns 18- an average of 14.2 million girls each year. Some are as young as eight years old.
Girls who marry young have babies while still children themselves, putting them at risk of death during and after childbirth. Their rights are denied, they miss opportunities to education, and they are more likely to be poor and stay poor. While boys are sometimes subjected to early marriage, girls are disproportionately affected and form the vast majority of children who are forced to marry.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15 and occasionally on adult women. In Africa, more than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk for FGM each year.
FGM removes a girl's right to control her own body, and is an extreme and violent way in which girls are disempowered. It has no health benefits but harms girls and women in many ways. Traditionally considered essential for marriage and inclusion in some communities, it can result in a lifetime of pain and difficulty in childbirth.
Ending these practices will help promote girls' education, reduce girls' exposure to violence and abuse, and allow them to fulfil their potential in life.
Source: Girl Rising
Follow PublicSphereWB on Twitter!