NPR Examines Issue Of Child Marriage

NPR’s “Parallels” blog and “All Things Considered” audio program examine the issue of child marriage. “Across the developing world, it’s estimated that one in three girls still marries before age 18; one in nine before age 15,” the blog writes, and relays the story of 13-year-old mother Christina Asima in Malawi, where “law permits marriage at 15 with parental consent, and merely ‘discourages’ it at younger ages.” The blog notes that, “in many places, offering up a daughter for marriage can bring parents a dowry, or pay down a debt,” adding, “Many soon become pregnant, which can have devastating consequences.” The blog continues, “When a girl marries young, experts say she’s often little more than a servant and vulnerable to domestic violence.” “Parallels” highlights the efforts of the Girls Empowerment Network, which creates girls’ clubs to promote “skills for public speaking, negotiating and standing up for oneself, even in front of the whole village” (Ludden, 11/25).