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G7 Ministers Should Commit To Accelerating Progress, Scaling-Up Investments To End Child Marriage

Project Syndicate: The Cost of Child Marriage
Henrietta H. Fore, executive director of UNICEF; Natalia Kanem, executive director of UNFPA; Mabel van Oranje, initiator and chair of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage

“…Ending child marriage will require ambition, creativity, and money. But that is just a start; targeted solutions are essential. … To be fully empowered, girls need access to safe, quality education that gives them the confidence and skills to succeed. Achieving that will require long-term engagement. If the world’s richest countries were to make this issue a high priority, the payoffs would be significant. … Governments are starting to make strides in reducing rates of child marriage; in fact, the number of girls married as children each year is declining. Unfortunately, change is happening too slowly. If the world does not dramatically accelerate progress and scale up investments, rapid population growth will reverse current gains, and the number of child brides will grow once more. … When G7 ministers meet this week and next, one theme they will discuss is ‘investing in growth that works for everyone.’ From our perspective, the best way to translate that goal into reality is by addressing a social ill that generates huge costs — and not just for girls” (5/30).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.