The negative effects of child marriage are manifested in many ways. Imagine the life of a girl who gets married at the age of 16, 11 or even 8. She is neither physically nor emotionally ready to become a wife and a mother. She is likely to get pregnant before her body has fully developed, which can result in peri-natal complications and maternal mortality. A child bride is at increased risk of suffering domestic violence and of being infected with HIV/AIDS. As a result of school drop-out she has limited career opportunities and is at increased risk to live in poverty. The chances are that she will not be able to provide her baby with adequate care and food. In the future the cycle continues, as her children are likely to face the same fate as she did. Her Choice aims to break this cycle.
No society can afford the lost opportunities, waste of talent or personal exploitation that child marriage causes. Girls who marry later attain higher levels of education, fare better economically, have fewer children and raise healthier families.
Factors that put a girl at risk of early marriage are poverty, gender inequality, lack of safety, and social and cultural traditions. The perception that marriage will provide protection to girls and maintains the family’s honour also increase the likelihood of child marriage. Although child marriage is illegal in many countries, traditions and religious laws often overrule national legislation. By result, child marriage is widely practiced.
Safe and empowering environments where girls feel supported by their families, their school, their community and the local government, and where joint efforts for sustainable economic improvement are being made, provide girls and young women the possibility to choose for a better future: Her Choice.