Jul 12, 2010

Custom Overrides The Law


In Senegal, the law states that the marriage age is 18. Parents must give consent for girls to be married between 16-18 and for those 13-16 a judge will make the determination. Even though a girl is 12 and it is unlawful to wed and her family forces her into marriage, these cases do not get prosecuted. Obviously, human and reproductive health rights are being violated. The case for childhood marriage made by the parents is that keeping the girls in the household and continuing education is too expensive. This rationale is unconscionable and sometimes the community elders can convince a father to delay the marriage. Life For Mothers appreciates the need to raise awareness locally regarding the broken law and the need for women to become empowered through education (completion of primary school and having an income generating skill). However, unless the governments are held accountable these customs and practices will continue to exist. Working with the media and international agencies can help but engaging men in the fight against childhood marriage and gender based violence is the key that will lead to changing these anachronistic mores. Here’s the link: http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=89740


Did you know?

In Africa and South Asia, complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for women of childbearing age.

Source:United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 2010

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