More than 700 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday.
One in three, approximately 250 million, were married before the age of 15.
Child marriage has a devastating impact on women and girls’ personal development, future opportunities, economic empowerment, education, health and well-being.
Child marriage has serious consequences for the health of girls, such as poorer pregnancy prognosis, higher risk of HIV infection, obstetric fistula, unsafe abortions, and a higher risk of suffering from domestic and sexual abuse than non-married girls or older married women.
Married girls are often forced to drop out of school: they get pregnant before their bodies are mature enough to bear children, they suffer serious health consequences and, given the lack of formal education, they can only find jobs with minimal wages. This creates a cycle of poverty that becomes very difficult to break and increasingly challenging for governments to support, with harmful consequence for families, communities and nations.
Child marriage is a clear violation of children’s basic human rights.
The global community has taken significant action against child marriage, especially within the United Nations framework. Ending Child Early and Forced Marriage is an agreed target for Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals to ensure Gender Equality by 2030.
Read the full fact sheet on CEFM here.