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Gender equality

2012 IDGC - Ending Child Marriage


On December 19, 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. For the inaugural day, UN agencies have come together to focus on child marriage, which is a fundamental human rights violation and impacts all aspects of a girl’s life. Child marriage denies a girl of her childhood, disrupts her education, limits her opportunities, increases her risk of violence and abuse, and jeopardizes her health.

For more information on child marriage, see UNICEF’s child protection work.

Global events

“Ending Child Marriage” – UN High level discussion co-organized by UNICEF, UNPFA and UN Women 
Thursday 11 October, 1:15pm-2:45pm
The panel featured an interactive discussion around the issue of child marriage, which is a fundamental human rights violation and impacts all aspects of a girl’s.

Moderator: NBC’s Ann Curry
Panelists : Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations; Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chair of The Elders, founders of Girls Not Brides; Hon. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, State Minister for Women & Children Affairs, Bangladesh; Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, UNFPA; Dr. Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director,  UN Women, Ms. Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF: Ms.Ghaicha Salamatou Agali; youth activist, Niger.

“Promoting Bright Futures” – High level panel discussion organized by the Missions of Canada, Peru  and Turkey Thursday 11 October, 3:00pm-5:00pm
Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium, New York, NY Featuring: Ms. Rona Ambrose, Minister for Status of Women, Government of Canada; Ms. Fatma Şahin, Minister for Family and Social Policies, Government of Turkey; Ms. Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women; Mr. Nigel Chapman, CEO of PLAN International; Fabiola, Girl Delegate. Facilitated by Ms. Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director (Programmes), UNICEF.

Regional and Country Activites

 PDF - Word


Child Marriage Programme Brief (PDF)

Uganda U-Report (PDF)

Joint Statement Executive Directors of UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women

Mulitmedia from the 2012 IDGC


Saying no to child marriage
In India, Child Protection Committees provide a safe environment in which people can talk about issues without the fear of backlash or being stigmatized - and can act as agents of change. Read more >



On Stage Against Child Marriage
Anita joined the theatre group a year and a half ago after her parents planned for Anita's marriage, which she refused. Read more >

Preventing Child Marriage through Economic Independence
MALDA, India, 7 Febrauary 2012 – Aksha Bibi, a village health worker and a member of women's self help group, knows how a child marriage can disrupt a girl's life and have harmful consequences to her health and education. Read more >


A Child Bride Campaigns Against Child Marriage
Poverty was the precipitating factor in Nargis's case. She was married shortly after her father died, the loss plunging the struggling family even deeper into poverty. Nargis's mother in desperation accepted the marriage proposal. Read more >


Female teaching recruits are agents of change in rural Nigeria
KATSINA STATE, Nigeria – 1 August 2012- The first thing that strikes you is their sense of confidence. Women with faces framed by colorful headscarves hold dynamic discussions in a packed classroom at the Isa Kaita College of Education. They consider themselves to be "village girls" but there's nothing ordinary about them. Read more >


Safe PLaCES help flood-affected children and women prevent child marriage in Pakistan
SINDH PROVINCE, Pakistan, 6 December 2011: A new type of UNICEF integrated emergency facility is providing protection and assistance to tens of thousands of flood-displaced children and women in Pakistan.Read more >


UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira promotes girls' education in India
UDAIPUR, Rajasthan – 21 November 2011 - Their worlds could hardly be more different – Shakira, the pop superstar and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, 34, independent, sassy, a household name – used to the glitz and glamour of the world stage. And a group of poor, young Rajasthani girls – four of them already married off before they turned 11; all of them the first females in their families ever to be educated. Read more >


UNICEF works to convince remote communities in Pakistan to abandon child marriage
SALEWALA, Pakistan, 16 March 2011- Pakistan's disastrous flood last July has created an opportunity to convince rural communities to stop pushing girls into child marriages. Read more >


UNICEF helps to begin changing attitudes towards early marriage in Niger
MARADI, Niger, 23 December 2010 – Sahira, 15, sits in front of a social worker at the Office of the Promotion of Women and the Protection of Children with a blank stare on her face. She has run away after being forced to marry a man she had never met who is three times her age. Read more >


UNICEF-EC programme gives a second chance to a would-be child bride in India
NEW YORK, USA, 22 April 2010 – Bablu, 15, lives with her family in a small village in rural Rajasthan. She was 13 when her community decided she should be married. "I did not want to get married," she said. "I thought my life would be completely ruined". Read more >


Defying the pressure to marry young in India
RAJASTHAN, India, 22 January 2010 – When Asu Kawar was 13-years-old, her community and family decided that she should be married to a man more than twice her age. Read more > 


Ending Child Marriage
Tens of millions of girls in the world are married while still children, many before puberty and often to much older men. In India, UNICEF and partners are helping the Government and villagers change this through community-based human rights initiatives. View photo essay >


Abandoning FGM/C
An estimated three million African girls undergo female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) every year, a procedure that causes infection, chronic pain and increased maternal and neonatal mortality. Holistic, human-rights-based initiatives are changing this reality. View photo essay >


Inequality & maternal health in Afghanistan
Pregnancy and childbirth remain perilous in Afghanistan. Entrenched gender inequality, deep poverty, high fertility rates, limited health care and decades of war have exacted a heavy toll on women and children, whose mortality rates are the second highest in the world. View photo essay.



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