Letters to the Editor

Give girls education instead of husbands

A wedding should be a time of joy, to love, to cherish, for better, not worse.

Sunday, the world celebrates the International Day of the Girl Child. A United Nations resolution established and designated this day to promote the rights of girls and address the unique challenges they face.

A major challenge is child marriage, which isn’t limited to a particular culture, region or religion. It’s a global problem. All girls must have the right to be safe, receive an education and live a healthy life.

Child marriage keeps approximately 15 million girls a year in the cycle of poverty, poor health and inequality. The rate of these marriages has nominally declined worldwide, however, some 39,000 girls are wed every day, many with no choice. On the short list, these marriages lead to higher maternal mortality rates, domestic violence and withdrawal from school.

In November 2014, the U.N. adopted the first resolution on child marriage. Co-sponsored by 116 countries, the resolution recognized that child marriage is a human-rights abuse and that it stems from deep-rooted inequalities, norms and stereotypes.

Boys also are subjected to early marriage in parts of the world. This year, the U.N. Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning child marriage.

Fortunately, my daughter can choose whom and when to marry. Let’s give every girl that right.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are championing efforts to help adolescent girls attend and complete school through the Let Girls Learn initiative.

Visit CARE.org/vowsofpoverty to thank the first lady for advocating an end to child marriage. Encourage her to support the timely release and implementation of a strong inter-agency Adolescent Girl Strategy that complements Let Girls Learn, so that all girls, regardless of where they are born, can reach their full potential.

Betsy Suero Skipp, volunteer district chair, CARE, Miami