The “Child marriage” is a serious violation of human rights and we cannot allow it.
Statistics show that a girl under the age of 18 is married every three seconds – that is, 10 million underage girls are married each year – most often without her consent and most likely to an older man. Most of these marriages take place in Africa, predominantly in sub Saharan Africa.
Most recent research on child marriage in Africa shows that most national governments in the region are either not aware of the seriousness of the issue, and/or have not prioritized child marriage as a serious problem that has far reaching impacts on health, education and economic development indices.
The African societies in the transition to urbanisation and modernisation, gate-keepers of traditional beliefs and moral codes, defend vehemently the child marriage as the ‘last holdout’ of ‘culture’ in the midst of profound development pressures and globalisation.
Consequently traditional authority figures for consolidate their influence they focus on the family, sexual relations, and other “private sphere” in social relations.
There is therefore an urgent need for self-efficacy training programs to change mindsets fettered by entrenched poverty, cultural norms/ religious beliefs and deeply rooted in patriarchal tradition.
I think it is our duty to help the large amount of children in the world who are victims of violence and are forced into early marriage.
In my country I organized meetings with the members BPW as well as with the political representatives with the aim to talk about this issue and to realize an informative and awareness campaign.
I think we need to create a network between our clubs and other organizations around the world to work together against this sad phenomenon.
Today the problem exists even in Italy, in fact we have many migrants from African countries and from countries in war and sadly this practice is implemented.
I think it is necessary to raise awareness among governments and at the same time to promote the education and the empowerment among young women.
I conclude this brief report with one thought: to be members of the BPW International should lead us to work to build a stronger society, more meaningful and more prosperous: a society built on the commitment, innovation, promotion of the economy and at the same time to take care of the less fortunate, and promotes equity with respect for diversity.
Standing Committee Projects BPW Chair
Past President FIDAPA BPW ITALY