Child marriage “bad for wildlife”
October 11th 2012
The theme of the first UN International Day of the Girl Child on October 11th 2012 is ‘Ending child marriage’. Child marriage violates millions of girls’ rights, disrupts their education, jeopardizes their health, and denies them their childhood, limiting their opportunities and impacting all aspects of a girl’s life.
UNICEF estimates that over 64 million 20-24 year olds were married or in union before the age of 18.
Early marriage can result in women getting pregnant at too early an age, causing serious complications for both mother and child in and following child birth.
It also results in larger families, as women who are married as children lack the education or experience to enter the formal labour market and develop an alternative life pattern and source of household income. This pattern of early marriage and larger families causes environmental degradation as population pressure encroaches on the habitat on which wild animals depend and overexploits resources. Environmental degradation and resource depletion combine to reinforce poverty, as does the need to bring up ever larger generations of children.
Simon Ross, chief executive, Population Matters commented “Population, women’s rights and sustainable development are inextricably linked. To make progress on poverty alleviation while limiting further damage to the environment, we must reduce the birth rate, particularly in high population growth countries. Ending child marriage and moving to greater gender equality is central to that.”