In the next ten years, if current patterns continue, more than 100 million girls will marry before the age of 18, according to Population Council analyses of United Nations country data. Child marriage—any marriage that occurs before age 18—is considered a human rights violation by international convention. Marriage transforms virtually all aspects of girls’ lives. Typically, girls who marry are moved from their familial home and village, lose contact with friends, initiate sexual activity with someone they barely know, and soon become mothers. In Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, and elsewhere, the Council is undertaking research to better understand the situation of married girls and to more adequately meet their unique social, health, and development needs. Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood Brief No. 3 outlines Council initiatives to increase understanding of the transition to marriage, to expand married girls’ opportunities, to increase their access to health services, and to develop appropriate health information messages, especially as related to first pregnancy and birth and to HIV and AIDS.
Santhya, K.G. and Annabel Erulkar. 2011. "Supporting married girls: Calling attention to a neglected group," Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood Brief no. 3. New York: Population Council.