Child marriage shows it takes a village to achieve a goal


(Tradition, Culture, Religion)

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The aim of the sustainable development goals is to create sustainable social, economic and environmental change. In our view they need to be met by approaches that are holistic and integrated.

Last month experts from the Copenhagen Consensus Centre argued that cherrypicking 19 of the UN’s SDGs could produce the greatest returns – effectively doubling or quadrupling the aid budget.

However, our experience shows us that it’s not helpful to cherrypick certain issues, to separate human development from the environment, or good governance. Each goal and target in the framework cannot be isolated from the others.

One powerful example of this is gender equality. We know that it cannot be achieved in a vacuum. Take child marriage – a form of violence against girls that means 15 million girls each year lose out on their childhood. It happens most in societies where women and girls face gender-based discrimination, inequality and harmful social norms that mean they are not valued equally to boys and men. And women and girls don’t experience this violence in isolation. If they marry too young they are much more likely to experience other forms of violence in their lifetimes, such as domestic violence. They are also more likely to drop out of school, face complications in childbirth and continue the cycle of poverty.

To end this practice by 2030, we need to recognise it is linked to a wide range of issues, including education, poverty, governance, other forms of violence against girls and attitudes to girls’ rights. Child marriage will not end without communities and societies that support gender equality.

Read the rest of the article at The Guardian.