Addressing early marriage of young and adolescent girls

Journal articles
4 p.

Girls in many resource-poor countries often have little choice about whom or when they marry. Orphans and young girls without involved caregivers are particularly vulnerable to early marriage. Early marriage curtails girls’ freedom, isolates them from peers, and ends their education prematurely. Often wed to men who are older and more sexually experienced, young brides lack power and are more likely to experience partner violence. They risk exposure to HIV and other STIs. This brief is a discussion of five approaches for delaying marriage that also can help girls avoid HIV, other STIs, and early or unintended pregnancy. The five approaches are: Extending girls’ schooling and safeguarding its quality; Helping girls establish supportive relationships with female peers and role models; Helping girls develop skills that enable them to earn an income; Mobilizing community members—especially parents—to recognize and support girls’ rights and development; Encouraging the implementation of existing laws and policies designed to protect everyone, including girls.

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