Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18. That's 22 girls every minute whose childhood, dreams, and education are cut short. All children are made in God's image and are worthy of dignity, respect, and opportunities to thrive. It's time to protect and empower girls everywhere.
Twelve million girls around the world are married before age 18 — every year. Unless we accelerate our efforts to end child marriage, 150 million more girls will be married by 2030. This number will likely be much higher due to the secondary impacts of COVID-19. Child marriage is a human rights abuse that keeps girls from living into their God-given potential.
The practice of child marriage — a formal or informal union where one or both parties are under 18 — impacts girls across countries, cultures, and religions. Globally, one in five young women aged 20 to 24 were married as children.
The reasons for child marriage are diverse and complex, but they’re rooted in gender inequality and exacerbated by poverty, weak enforcement of laws, and harmful social norms and practices. The key to change isn’t pointing fingers — it’s working with communities where the practice is common; walking alongside girls and women, listening to their voices as agents of change and experts on their own lives; and championing their cause to those in power until all children can enjoy childhood, complete their education, and determine the outcome of their own lives.
We know that engaging men and boys in solutions to address child marriage is critical. We must also work towards equal access to quality education and advocate for greater protections against child marriage and other forms of gender-based violence.
God calls us to loose the chains of injustice (see Isaiah 58:6) — let’s do so by speaking out against child marriage, praying for those affected, and standing up for policies and laws that give children the chance to choose their own futures.
(Last updated 6/1/21)