More attention imperative for girls` education in new normal24 January 2021
When children are forced to marry they are forced to drop out of school and deprived of their childhood. They face the trauma of forced sexual relations. They endure the health risks associated with early pregnancies that may lead to premature, stunted babies and even their own deaths. The long-term effects of child marriage include generations of girls and young women being denied education, health, the right to work and earn and the agency to escape domestic violence.
Against this backdrop we now have a pandemic that has intensified all the factors behind child marriage-poverty, lack of security of girls and the mindset that girls are a burden for parents. In terms of combatting child marriage, we have not been very successful even before the pandemic. Now that we are confronted with the numbers we must act fast now. Financial incentives, income-generating opportunities can be given to families so that it is not poverty that pushes them to get their girls married off. Most of all the government and society must work together to ensure the security of girls and women so that they are not harassed on the streets, subjected to sexual violence and that they can go to school and pursue their dreams. Child marriage is an abusive practice that must be stopped for good.