I joined Plan’s campaign “Because I am a Girl” the other day. It’s a campaign to abolish child marriage.
Every day approximately 41,000 girls under the age of 18 are married against their will. That amounts to 15 million girls every year. There are many problems these girls face, including poor sexual health since many are forced to be sexually active too early, poor education, and death because they are forced to give birth before their bodies are ready.
Even today, most of the world perceives of girls as possessions who can be traded for other possessions, or made to procreate whether they wish to do so or not. Their wills are crushed by violence, humiliation, cultural mores, and the force of habit. I know this isn’t news to anyone. Everyone knows this. Girls have got it bad.
And this is why feminism has still got a long trek ahead. Things might be better in many developed countries. Not perfect, but quite all right for the most part. Here women get to do what they want in life, get to choose whether to have babies or not, get to choose whom they marry and whether to in fact marry at all. We get to go to school, and to work. We have the right to keep the money we’ve worked for. Rape is illegal. Older men lusting after children are considered criminals.
Women in the West still complain about inequality at the workplace and being objectified by men, and to some extent these things do happen. But the sturdiest shackles are in our heads. We have the option of being subjects, the heroines of our own lives. We have the option of creating our own happiness and not allowing anyone to control us. We can abolish the injustices we face because we are free to do so.
We are the lucky ones. How about we spread some of that luck around?
You can find out more about the campaign and child marriage in general on the Plan website here: