According to PLAN UK, one in every five girls in the developing world is married by the age of 18, and one in nine marries before they reach the age of 15. The Netherlands minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms. Liliane Ploumen, calls for a transformative approach to ending child, early and forced marriage by addressing its root causes:
"Child, early and forced marriage are symptoms of women’s rights violations and gender inequality. Real change will come from different ways of looking at women and girls, and a shift in power relations between women and men. We must invest in gender equality, women’s empowerment, sexual and reproductive health and rights and poverty eradication. We need to change social norms. We also need to talk to parents – this practice is not a symptom of lack of love, but of poverty and traditional values which are challenging to change. We are here creating momentum by talking about it - and we have to build on that. The Post2015 agenda provides an excellent opportunity to do that."
Minister Ploumen also stated that we have to put our money where are mouth is, and announced that she will create a fund for Dutch NGOs working with partners in the Global South to prevent child, early and forced marriage, as well as provide funds to UNICEF to continue their work on this issue.
The minister participated today in an official side-event by UNICEF and PLAN, "Lessons Learned in Country: How to End Child, Early and Forced Marriage", together with a.o. Minister Clara Makungwa from Malawi.
= Joni van de Sand on behalf of WO=MEN =