This report is a clarion call to decision makers, parents, communities and to the world to end child marriage. It documents the current scope, prevalence and inequities associated with child marriage and highlights that by 2020, some 142 million girls will be married by their 18th birthday if current trends continue.
This translates into 37,000 girls married each day. Child marriage jeopardizes girls’ rights and stands in the way of girls living educated, healthy and productive lives. It also excludes girls from fundamental decisions, such as the timing of marriage and choice of spouse. Girls living in rural areas of the developing world are twice as likely to be married before age 18 as their urban counterparts, and girls with no education are over three times more likely to do so than those with secondary or higher education.
The report calls on governments and leaders to end child marriage by:
Enacting and enforcing national laws that raise the age of marriage to 18, for both girls and boys.
Using data to identify and target geographic “hotspots” – areas with high proportions and numbers of girls at risk of child marriage.
Expanding prevention programmes that empower girls at risk of child marriage and address the root causes underlying the practice.
Mitigating the harmful impact of child marriage on girls.