Fighting for the rights of girls to enjoy their childhoods and have a choice in their futures.

Why we care: Millions of girls are at risk of early marriage–a terrifying and devastatingly harmful prospect for their current and future lives.

How we’re solving this: By comprehensively investigating and identifying the obstacles to ending child marriage in the effort to overcome them. 

Based on the findings of our analysis, and working in tandem with local partners, we will use a range of legal, social and public advocacy strategies to push for concrete and sustainable change to put an end to this practice which robs millions of girls of their childhoods. 

  • At age 11, Fauziya was pulled out of school and married off to a 25-year-old man.  She died a year later in childbirth.
  • At age 11, Wafa was sold by her father to a 40-year-old man who raped and tortured her for a year before we were able to help her get a divorce. While she was able to resume her education, she now lives in a shelter as she was exploited again by her uncle when she returned home.
  • At age 12, Fatima was married to a man in his fifties who gave her a PlayStation as a wedding present.  Though we helped to get her a divorce, she feels ashamed of her situation and no longer wants to pursue her education, believing she doesn’t have options as a ’13-year-old divorcee’.

Early/forced marriage violates the human rights of girls by excluding them from decisions regarding the timing of marriage, choice of spouse and participation in sexual relations. When a girl gets married off as a child, her life becomes one of constant violence and discrimination. Often living with a man much older than herself, she is abruptly and violently initiated into sexual relations–suffering regular rapes by her husband and, unable to pursue an education, is less equipped to negotiate a secure and healthy life for herself.  Frequently subjected to early pregnancy, the girl may suffer grave health consequences as well as the challenges of looking after children of her own–while still a child herself–and be isolated from family and friends. According to the World Health Organization, in low- and middle-income countries, complications from pregnancy and childbirth are a leading cause of death among girls aged 15–19.  

By identifying the multiple pillars that help support this practice, our campaign aims to advance the creation of an environment where girls are valued equally to boys; to provide structural support for girls by promoting specific international and national measures against child marriage; help girls stay in school; and, allow them to benefit from a society where they can navigate their own way in life. 

Please contribute to our project and help us ensure that all the Fauziyas, Wafas, Fatimas, and the millions of at-risk girls like them, can live their lives free from violence, exploitation and discrimination.



Equality Now is a member of Girls Not Brides a global partnership of more than 250 non-governmental organizations committed to end child marriage.