General Article Child marriage: a global problem

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Millions of young women around the world are married before they turn 18, many against their will and in violation of international laws and conventions on women’s rights. These young brides have limited education and economic opportunities, and they are vulnerable to health complications that result from giving birth before their bodies are fully developed. They often are socially isolated and powerless in the relationship. Ending child marriage can help nations and communities meet goals related to poverty, education, gender equality, maternal and child health, and HIV/AIDS.


Global problem

  • Over the last decade, 58 million young women – one in three – in developing countries have been married before the age of 18.
  • One in nine girls – or 15 million – in these countries was married by 15.
  • The highest rates of marriage before 18 (generally considered to be child marriage) are found in Africa. In Niger, 75 per cent of girls marry before 18; in Chad, 72 per cent; and in Mali, 7...

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