End Child Marriage

WISE advocates for ending child marriage both nationally and globally.  Child marriage is defined by Girls Not Brides as "any formal marriage or informal union where one or both of the parties are under 18 years of age." It is a global human rights issue that happens both in the United States and the rest of the world. Since 2018, Minnesota has been one of only four US states to ban child marriages.

Risk Factors & Reasons for Marriage

  • Youth living in an unhealthy home environment may feel the need to marry in order to "escape" their home.

  • Girls are forced to marry their rapist or forced to marry due to accidental/intentional pregnancy.

  • For families in poverty, marriage becomes a financial transaction or a way to provide "protection” during periods of economic and social instability.

  • Marriage at an early age is normalized in many cultures.

  • Lack of family planning education.

  • Stigma against reproductive health education and use of contraception.

Effects on Child & Youth Development

  • Pregnant and married youth are forced to "grow up" faster than their peers.

  • Educational and career advancement is interrupted by spousal responsibilities.

  • Young mothers may experience physical, mental, and emotional stress from childbirth that can impact their overall wellbeing and attitude towards motherhood.

Zonta International

Webinar: How can we accelerate the process in ending child marriage?

Learn more about the global progress to end child marriages in this webinar by Zonta International. Zonta International is a leading global organization in women's empowerment and advocacy for women's rights.