Skip Navigation Links
MyPlan Login
Skip to main content
Hero

Normal is girls
denied equality.

But together, we can #DefyNormal and help end child marriage.

What is child marriage?

Child marriage, or early marriage, is any marriage where at least one of the parties is under 18 years of age. Forced marriages are marriages in which one and/or both parties have not personally expressed their full and free consent to the union.

Source: OHCHR

Every year,nearly 12 million girls are married before the age of 18.

Girls with secondary schooling are up to 6x less likely to marry as children compared to girls who have little or no education.

Marrying before 18 can increase the risk of HIV infection in girls.

Early marriage often leads to early pregnancies. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among 15 - 19 year-old girls globally.

5 myths about child marriage

child bride child bride child bride child bride child bride child bride child bride child bride child bride child bride child bride child bride
Myth 1: Child marriage only happens in developing countries.
Fact: Child marriage is a global issue and is practiced in all parts of the world.
Myth 2: Child marriage is a religious tradition.
Fact: Child marriage is a cultural tradition, not a religious one. In fact, poverty remains one of the main drivers of child marriage.
Myth 3: Child marriage doesn’t affect boys.
Fact:While rates of child marriage for boys are disproportionately lower than girls, there are still 156 million men alive today who were married as children.
Myth 4:Child marriage only happens between young girls and old men.
Fact:Child marriage is exactly that – when a child is married before they’re 18 years old. While unions between girls and older men do occur, it is not always the case.
Myth 4:We can’t end child marriage.
Fact:Much progress has already been made to end child marriage! For example, in South Asia, the rates of child marriage have declined from 50% to 30% in the last 10 years.

Meet 3 girls who secured a momentous victory to end child marriage in Guatemala

Group of young mothersÁlida, Rosy and Mayra are 3 determined girls with 1 shared goal: to end child marriage in Guatemala, a country with some of the worst child marriage and teen pregnancy statistics in Latin America.

According to UNICEF, 30% of all girls in Guatemala are married before age 18, and a quarter of all births are to teenage mothers. These daunting statistics motivated Álida, Rosy and Mayra to take action and speak up about the issue of child brides in their communities.

With the support of Plan International’s youth empowerment programming, these inspiring girls worked tirelessly for 3 years to unite families, communities and local authorities in the fight against child marriage.

Their efforts culminated in a successful campaign to petition lawmakers and change the minimum age for marriage in Guatemala to 18 years old - now, girls in Guatemala finally have full legal protection from becoming child brides!

“When I heard that they had approved the new law, I felt so much happiness because I had helped make it happen. I collected signatures and was part of a team of people who had brought about the change. I feel so proud!” says Mayra.

Today, these empowered girls are continuing to champion change and help end child marriage in Guatemala.

Read their story

What is Plan International doing

icon toolkit

Facilitating youth groups to educate children of their rights.

icon toolkit

Working through community groups and leaders to educate parents.

icon toolkit

Educating families about sexual and reproductive rights.

icon toolkit

Supporting girls' education and making it more accessible.

icon toolkit

Calling on governments to change or enforce laws.

icon toolkit

Running birth registration programs to ensure girls can prove their age.

Join the conversation with @plancanada

  Twitter |   Instagram |    Facebook

Stand with us to #DefyNormal.

.