An activist's big dreams for girls in Tanzania

Ana Isabel Paraguay
Posted November 5, 2016 from Brazil

Six months ago, in Tanzania, a 15-year-old girl could be married to a 50-year-old man and there would be no consequences, for the man anyway. For the girl, the consequences would be calamitous: The marriage would likely result in her leaving school, becoming pregnant and being at risk of health problems and domestic violence.

Unfortunately, this is the fate of 37 percent of Tanzanian girls due to deep-rooted traditions, as well as economic and religious factors that render girls second class citizens. Most shockingly, however, until very recently these child marriages were also sanctioned by Tanzanian law, which set the legal age for marriage for girls as young as 14 with parental consent.

Imagine your life at 14, brimming with anticipation and perhaps a little angst about things to come. A 14-year-old is nowhere near ready for marriage, pregnancy or adulthood. The early marriage of a girl immediately limits her potential and perpetuates cycles of poverty, oppression and inequality. If we eradicate child marriage, young girls will be accorded a chance to be so much more than wives and mothers. When girls are empowered, educated and free to make their own informed choices, society will flourish abundantly. This will never happen if girls continue to be married and drop out of school at 14. A law that permits this injustice in my own country was a law I could not accept.

Full article available at https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-an-activist-s-big-dreams-for-girls-in...

Comments 2

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helen.ng
Nov 08, 2016
Nov 08, 2016

Thank you for sharing this article! It's horrible to hear how child marriages are so common in several different countries, and the abuse and health risks that come with it.  

Ana Isabel Paraguay
Dec 02, 2016
Dec 02, 2016

Dear Helen,

Thanks for your feedback!  

Please feel free to share my posts to your network (e-mails, discussion lists, friends...).