Current status + progress
650 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday
Child marriage, defined as a formal marriage or informal union before the age of 18, is a fundamental violation of human rights. It occurs among both boys and girls, though the prevalence is about five times higher among girls – reflecting societal values that hold girls in low esteem and deprive them of the agency to chart their own course in life. It often compromises a girl’s healthy transition to adulthood by resulting in early pregnancy, social isolation, interruption of education, limited socio-economic opportunities and increased risk of domestic violence. Moreover, adolescent girls are often married to older men, creating a power dynamic that further disempowers girls and exposes them to greater risks of violence, sexually transmitted diseases and a lack of agency.