When I think about why I’m a feminist, child marriage is one of the first things that come to mind. I’m not sure why, there are no personal reasons. But it makes me so angry that there is very little I can do about it. But I feel like it’s a little disrespectful to ignore such problems just because it makes me feel uncomfortable. Besides uncomfortable is good, it makes change happen. Since I first read about child marriages and more specifically child brides, I wanted to know why. I wanted to know why someone would give away their child like that, forcefully push them into a life of hardship and often abuse.
Main factors that lead to child marriages are:
- Lack of education
- Gender discrimination
- Cultural traditions
Child marriage is most common in the world’s poorest countries. Girls who are from poorer families are twice as likely to marry before the age of 18, this is because marriage is often seen as a way to provide for their daughter’s future. By being married off at a young age, children of school age are denied their right to an education and therefore will not have the skills necessary to prepare themselves for adulthood. If they make it that far.
Child brides have very little say in when and who they will marry, and in most cases the husbands are much, much older. Girls who are married before the age of 18 are more likely to be abused by their husbands.
Soon after marriage comes children.
These girls are forced into having children as soon as they can, and with girls starting their periods as early as 9, you can probably imagine how young these girls would be when giving birth to their first child. If they survive.
Girls who give birth before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to die during childbirth than women in their 20s. But sometimes, the baby won’t make it to child-birth due to the awful conditions that the girls are forced to live and work in. Yep, they still have to work.
You know, I’m really struggling to see how this is any better than her staying with her family. Yes they were poor but at least she wasn’t being forced to work while in such a vulnerable position.
So next time someone tells you that we don’t need feminism I want you to tell them about the 15 million girls that become child brides every year. Feminism isn’t just for people in wealthier countries, it’s for everyone, despite race, gender and class.
“Girls not brides is a global partnership of more than 500 organisations committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfil their potential.”
I would really encourage you to check out this website, and possibly donate if you can. 🙂
Until next time!
And I’m back on Instagram: @wolfishdelight