Child Marriage Appears on the Surface Again due to Pandemic
According to the UN, Worldwide, an estimated 12 million girls are wed every year before the age of 18, but this number has extremely increased due to coronavirus pandemic which caused a growing state of poverty.
Child marriage has long been practised as part of tradition in communities from the Indonesian archipelago to India, Pakistan and Vietnam, but numbers had been decreasing as numerous initiatives worked to spread awareness of its dangers and encouraged access to education and women’s health services.
unfortunately, these improvements are being eroded as the impact of the virus causes mass job losses, leaving parents struggling to feed their families, experts say.
Poverty, lack of education, and insecurity drive child marriage even in stable times, so periods of crises exacerbate the problem, the NGO says.
Shipra Jha, head of Asia engagement at NGO Girls Not Brides, said “All of the gains we’ve made in the past decade are really going to suffer.. child marriage is firmly rooted in gender inequality and patriarchal structures. What’s happened is that it’s become compounded in the COVID era.”
Girls Not Brides warns that unless urgent action is taken to tackle the economic and social impact of the virus – an additional 13 million child marriages will take place in the next decade.
In Asia, organisations are reporting that the forced unions have already begun, estimating tens of thousands are already affected – though hard data is yet to be collated.
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