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Each year more than 15 million girls are married before the age of 18, falling prey to the custom of child marriages. That is 28 girls every minute. 1 every 2 seconds. In developing countries, one in every three girls is married before reaching an age of 18. One in nine is married under age 15.

Dumbfounded? This is a harsh reality which many of us are obscured from. Child Marriages is like a destructive wave which has never subsided across countries, religions and cultures. Poverty, insecurities, traditions etc. are some of the reasons it still prevails all over the world resulting in decline of a girl and her family’s progress and thereby hindering overall country’s development.

Countries with Highest rates of Child Marriages: 

  1. Niger

76% of girls are married before 18.

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According to the U.N.’s Human Development Index, Niger is the world’s least-developed country. In many regions, 9 out of 10 girls marry before age 18. Less rain here often means more “drought brides,” as families pursue early marriage as a survival strategy, seeking one less mouth to feed and bride price money to buy food!

  1. Central African Republic(CAR)

68% of girls are married before 18

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CAR has the 2nd lowest GDP in the world. On an average, girl in CAR only stay in school till an age of 7 years! Along with child marriages, polygamy, selling of a bride, female genital mutilation and sexual harassment are also some major problems.

  1. Chad

68% of girls are married before 18

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Child marriages are prevalent in both wealthy and poor people in this country. Almost 7 out of 10 girls are married before 18 here.

  1. Mali

55% of girls are married before 18

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Female Genital Mutilation is carried out widely to young girls and it is believed that such girls are more appropriate for marriage as they will always obey their husbands. Girls are forced to marry early to avoid sexual harassment most of the times.

  1. Burkina Faso

52% of girls are married before 18

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In many regions of Burkina Faso more than half of the girls are married away before 18 and are beaten/threatened if girls raise their voice for choosing their own life partner and whether to have children. Girls have no control over their lives.

  1. Guinea

52% of girls are married before 18

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More than 50% of the Guinean population is below poverty line. A high status is attached to the guy with many young brides. Every 1 out of 2 girls is married without her wish before an age of 18.

  1. Bangladesh

52% of girls are married before 18

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About 30% of girls are married before 15 and Bangladesh ranks first in child marriages outside Africa. Families marry their girls early to avoid more mouths to feed during floods, drought or mudslides and ensure well-being of their daughters.

  1. South Sudan

52% of girls are married before 18

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In Sudan, where the Personal Status of Muslims Act of 1991 allows children – boys or girls – as young as 10 to marry, 38 percent of young women were married before the age of 18, many even at an age of 12, according to a 2010 government survey.

  1. Mozambique

48% of girls are married before 18

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The HIV infection among young people here is maximum. Girls here are trapped in a cycle of poor childhood, poor health, early marriage and early pregnancy. Malnutrition is everywhere. A harsh climate only aggravates the problem.

  1. India

47% of girls are married before 18

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The rates of child marriage vary between states and are as high as 69% and 65% in Bihar and Rajasthan. Patriarchy, class and caste influence the expectations around the role of women and girls in India.

At the age of 16, there is a high possibility in these countries that you walk the aisle instead of going to secondary school! Marriage should be a time for celebration and joy – unless you are one of the 64 million girls around the world forced into marriage before the age of 18.

It is impossible for any country to develop to its full potential until both man and woman stand on equal footing.

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Smita - Creative Writer Being an engineer by profession she realized coding and debugging is not the only thing she likes. Writing became her ardor and here she is pouring down her minds pandemonium and hoping it interests other as much it does for herself. An emotional person from heart and love from her beloved ones is her strength! She is passionate about travelling and this is what she is found doing when not writing. Fashion and home décor interests her and she loves experimenting with the latest trends. ‘Celebrate yourself’ is her catchphrase!

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