More than 700 million women today were married as children.
Of the world’s 1 billion poorest people, 3/5 are girls and women.
More than 1 in 3 (or some 250 million) were married before 15.
When unpaid domestic work is taken into account, women’s total work hours are longer than men’s in all regions.
Two-thirds of the illiterate people in the world are girls/women.
89 girls complete primary school for every 100 boys who complete primary school.
Girls drop out of formal schooling because of poverty, early marriage, gender-based violence, cultural practices and a lack of resources, among other challenges.
Millions of girls are forced into early marriage for economic and cultural reasons. If resource-poor families are to invest in the education of their children, boys receive priority. In many cultures, girls are considered a burden as the parents have to often pay dowries at marriage.
However, if education is both affordable and flexible, girls too can have the opportunity to participate without disrupting their responsibilities in the home and the family. If girls are taught the skills necessary for livelihoods, they can be a major source of supplementing the family income.
When women are married, an infant born to an educated woman is much more likely to survive into adulthood. In Africa, children of mothers who receive five years of primary education are 40 per cent more likely to live beyond age five. An educated women is 50 per cent more likely to have her children immunised against childhood diseases (DFID, 2005).
- United Nations Children’s Fund, Ending Child Marriage: Progress and prospects, UNICEF, New York, 2014
- Commonwealth of Learning, Gender Mainstreaming in Learning for Sustainable Development, 2015
- Government of Canada – UNICEF: Accelerating the Movement to End Child Early and Forced Marriage – Annual Progress and Utilization Report, 2014