Forced / Early Marriage
Every year 15 million girls are married against their will. Girls are pulled from school and exposed to sexual abuse and exploitation. Forced marriages also lead to the increased risk of early pregnancies and a high infant mortality rate for both the mother and child.
In developing countries, one third of the female population has been married under the age of 18 and one in nine girls were married under the age of 15. Forced marriages to older men usually mean an end to education and any chance of obtaining vocational training. Even though polygamy is banned, sometimes young girls will live as the second, third or even fourth wife to a single man. Among the women, there is also a strict “pecking order”, where the youngest woman must give absolute obedience to her husband as well as to the older wives. As a result, she is often tasked with the heaviest work and the least amount of food.
There is a clear relationship between a girl´s access to education and her risk of an early pregnancy. Without enough information and available services, she may not know about contraception and reproductive health. Forced marriages also expose young girls to contracting HIV/AIDS.