Last week’s International Day of the Girl began a prolific movement of putting girls on the global agenda. Equal rights, access to education, choices about marriage and childbirth, and girls’ futures are constantly in flux. Girls in developing countries need our help and they desperately need the help of men who understand the plight they face.
On October 11 in Monrovia men marched against child marriage holding signs saying, “They are girls, not wives” and “We will stand up. We will speak up.”
According to the International Center for Research on Women, Liberia is one of the top twenty countries where child marriage is the largest. At 48.4% nearly half of Liberia’s girls are married as adolescents. Girls who become child brides have a higher chance of dying during childbirth, typically cease their educational studies, and become victims of domestic violence.
Too Young to Wed
Stephanie Sinclair, the visionary National Geographic photographer who has told the story of child marriage in several developing countries, has launched an exhibit Too Young to Wed that shows photos and shares stories about the secret life of child brides.
There is an accompanying film that is well worth the 10 minutes to watch.
What can you do to help?
- Get educated about the issue of child marriage at GirlsNotBrides.org.
- Support education for girls at 10x10act.org
- Donate to the Girls Fund at plan-international.org/girls
Photo: UN/Emmanuel Toby