Ending Child Marriage

Charting Brighter Futures

Judy Mintz, ICJW representative to UNICEF, attended the Zoom launch of the Child Marriage Monitoring Mechanism on June 2, 2021 and reports on the webinar.

This webinar, organized by UNICEF, presented a vision to end child marriage.  An estimated 650 million girls and women alive today were married before their 18th birthdays.  Because of the Covid virus, by 2030 it is predicted that 10 million more girls will have early and forced marriages.  This harmful practice robs girls of the opportunity to fulfill their potential and denies them access to education and the full enjoyment of rights.  Simply put: early marriage is a human rights violation.  To support efforts by governments and to encourage policies, a Child Marriage Monitoring Mechanism has been established to generate data and promote its use and analysis.

Participants represented the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Canada and Norway, UN Women, Girls Not Brides, the African Union Commission, South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children, UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and the Population Council.  They all shared a commitment to end child marriage.

KEY POINTS included:

  • The voices of girls and survivors must be included and heard.
  • Religious, traditional and cultural leaders must be part of the process.
  • Data must be tracked.  Both research and an evidence approach are needed.
  • Young people from 10 to 18 year olds need awareness about available help.  They must be activated.
  • Gender based violence includes early marriage.
  • Early marriage is a cross border issue.  It is national, regional and global. Governments must be held accountable.  Occurrences are highest in the Caribbean, Africa and South East Asia.
  • There is a need for accountability and a political will.
  • Civil society, decision makers and stakeholders must be partners to accelerate the process.