The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Community News Network

November 23, 2012

Ending the curse of child brides, one $25 goat at a time

After an unforgivably long time, the revolutionary idea that girls should get the same education as boys seems to be gaining acceptance. What's surprising, then, is that one of the great impediments to keeping girls in school — particularly girls in the developing world — remains largely unremarked upon and unaddressed. By this we mean the stubborn persistence of child marriage.

Child brides remain alarmingly common. An estimated 10 million marriages occur worldwide each year in which at least one spouse, usually the female, is younger than 18. In 16 countries, half of girls marry by that age. West Africa has the highest incidence of child marriage, South Asia the largest numbers. In many places, brides are preposterously young. In Niger, 36 percent of girls are wed before turning 15.

These unions produce a host of social ills. Younger brides become pregnant at younger ages, often before their bodies fully mature, putting mother and child at risk. In the developing world, a baby born to a mother under 20 is 50 percent more likely to be stillborn or die in the first month than one born to a mother 20 to 29. Pregnant girls younger than 15 are five times more likely to die giving birth than women over 20 are.

A particular danger for teen mothers is obstetric fistula, a condition that can develop during untended, obstructed labor and lead to constant leakage of urine or feces; such girls are often cast out of society.

Girls who marry young also typically leave school. Their children are more likely than those of older brides to be undereducated and malnourished.

Generally, the younger the bride, the greater the age gap between her and her husband, which translates to a power imbalance that often leads to spousal abuse.

In recent decades, several countries have increased the legal marital age to 18 to comply with international conventions defining marriage as an agreement between consenting adults. Yet legal change alone has made little difference. The prevalence of child marriage is decreasing — but very slowly, and in many places not at all. Some members of Egypt's Parliament actually want to rescind the country's law that sets the marriage age at 18.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014