Zambia has one of the highest child marriage rates in the world with 42% of women aged 20-24 years are married by the age of 18, a rate that has not evolved since 2002. The rates of child marriage vary from one region to another, and are as high as 60% in the eastern province.
Why Do Girls Get Married Young?
Child marriage is usually caused by high levels of poverty. Parents tend to marry their daughters off to pay a debt or because they believe that it will bring them some form of sustenance. It is very difficult to convince the parents and sometimes even the girl that going to school is a bigger investment for the family. In some cases where the girl is willing to go to school, the parents will prioritize the boy child’s education because they believe that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. These beliefs are as a result of a patriarchal society.
should We Fight To End Child Marriage?
Child Marriage is a harmful practice that takes away so much from young girls. Every girl should an opportunity to go to school and get an education. Young girls are victim to harmful traditional practices that discriminate against their rights. UNFPA found that 65% of women with no education and 58% with primary education were married at 18, compared to only 17% of women with secondary education or higher.
This shows girls must get an opportunity to go to and Finish school without being married off. Having the same chance at an education as a boy. Realising the importance & value of education for all of us is important. An educated girl will stay healthy, empower her community and lift her country. So how can we deny a girls an education?
What Will You Do About It?
Talk about it! We need to do to Child Marriage what we did with HIV. We need to let the whole world know that this is a real issue, through social media, gatherings, and every other opportunity. Spread the world. Be the voice of the many girls that are unable to speak for themselves.
Seek out an organisation you can work with. There are a lot of institutions that are working towards ending child marriage, contact them, ask how you can help. If you are unable to work with an organisation, start/Join a campaign online. Retweet and share stories so that others can be informed as well. Keep the cycle of information going.
The fight against child marriage is one that has to be fought by everyone, we all need to realise that girls are the most powerful force for change