The Correlation between Female Genital Mutilation & Child Marriage

More than half of the girls in Bangladesh, Mali, Mozambique and Niger are married before the age of 18.  In these same countries, more than 75 percent of the people live on less than $2.00 a day.

The preparation of the traditional child marriage in certain parts of the world includes the rite of passage to womanhood.  In most of those societies, the rite of passage involves undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM). Millions of girls are forced into marriage while they are still under 18 years old.  The practice of child marriage is widespread throughout parts of the developing world.  One child bride tells how she underwent FGM at the age of 9 and two years later at 11 years old, she was married off to a 60-year old man.  She was a mother of 4 by age 16.

Wikipedia defines child marriage as a formal marriage or informal union entered into by an individual before reaching the age of 18. The legally prescribed marriageable age in some jurisdictions is below 18 years, especially in the case of girls; and even when the age is set at 18 years, many jurisdictions permit earlier marriage with parental consent or in special circumstances, such as teenage pregnancy.

A Child Bride in Nigeria

Child marriage is a reality for both boys and girls, although girls are disproportionately the most affected. Child marriage is widespread and can lead to a lifetime of disadvantage and deprivation.

Child marriage is a traditional practice that in many places happens simply because it has happened for generations. In some communities, when girls start to menstruate, they become women in the eyes of the community. Marriage is therefore the next step towards giving a girl her status as a wife and mother.  In parts of Liberia, the preparation for marriage includes circumcision on the girl.  Once she has been through FGM, the search for a husband commences.  In some cases, the search for her husband begins when she is born or at toddler age.  It depends on how eager her parents are to receive the required dowry from the future husband and his family.

Today, child marriage is still fairly widespread in developing countries, such as parts of Africa, South Asia, Southeast and East Asia, West Asia, Latin America, and Oceania. The incidence of child marriage has been falling in most parts of the world.

According to the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), one third of girls in the developing world are married before the age of 18 and 1 in 9 are married before the age of 15.  The report states that if the present trend continues, 142 million girls will be married before their 18th birthday over the next ten years.  While countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage are concentrated in Western and Sub-Saharan Africa, due to population size, the largest number of child brides resides in South Asia.

Studies continue to show that girls with higher levels of education are less likely to be subjected to child marriage. In Mozambique, 60 percent of girls with no education are married before 18, compared to 10 percent of girls with at least secondary schooling and less than one percent of girls with higher education.  Educating adolescent girls is a critical factor in increasing the age of marriage in a number of developing countries, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.  In most FGM practicing societies, the mother and grandmother are responsible for arranging the FGM rite of passage.  However it is the father who arranges the marriage of his young daughter, in exchange for a high-priced dowry.  The dowry can include from a number of cattle, precious gems, money and even farmland.  Education is the key to ending the practices of both FGM and child marriage.

The Top 20 Countries with Highest Percentage Rates of Child Marriage Niger (76.6%) Chad (71.5%) Bangladesh (68.7%) Mali (65.4%) Guinea (64.5%) Central African Republic (57.0%) Nepal (56.1%) Mozambique (55.9%) Uganda (54.1%) Burkina Faso (51.9%) India (50.0%) Ethiopia (49.1%) Liberia (48.4%) Yemen (48.4%) Cameroon (47.12%) Eritrea (47.0%) Malawi (46.9%) Nicaragua (43.3%) Nigeria (43.3%) Zambia (42.1).

A Child Bride in Nicaragua

Source: Analysis of Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data


Here are some facts and statistics:

It is estimated that girls younger than 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s.

Pregnancy is consistently among the leading causes of death for girls that are 15 to 19 years old worldwide.

Child brides face a higher risk of contracting HIV because they often marry an older man with more sexual experience. Girls ages 15 – 19 are 2 to 6 times more likely to contract HIV than boys of the same age in sub-Saharan Africa.

Girls who marry before 18 are more likely to experience domestic violence than their peers who marry later. A study conducted by ICRW in two states in India found that girls, who were married before 18 were twice as likely to report being beaten, slapped or threatened by their husbands than girls who married later.

Child brides often show signs symptomatic of sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress such as feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and severe depression.

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Make Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation Your Favorite Charity in 2018

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Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation’s 2018 Calendar


  • Monthly Workshop – Saturday, March 17th with Dr. Willa D. Jones
  • Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) – March 12th through 23rd
  • Women’s Jazz Luncheon – Saturday, April 14th
  • Monthly Workshop – Saturday, April 21st with F.A. Cole
  • Monthly Workshop – Saturday, May 19th with Dr. Karen McDonnell
  • The education toolkit – Now Available and downloadable at

We will update this 2018 calendar as schedules come in

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From unCUT Voices:

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Weekly Word-Scramble

Do you enjoy playing with words?  This is a fun way to see how well you can unscramble the following words.  We will reveal the unscrambled words in next week’s edition of the newsletter.  If you enjoyed this, write and give us your feedback to

Can you unscramble the following five words?

This Week’s Scrambled Words







Last Week’s Scrambled Words                                  Last Week’s Unscrambled Words

TINALINTERAN                                                                   INTERNATIONAL

PROGRESS#PRESSFOR                                                     #PRESSFORPROGRESS

DEWIDORLW                                                                        WORLDWIDE

NECELIVO                                                                              VIOLENCE

DELATUTIM                                                                          MUTILATED


We give you five scrambled words each week.  We hope you enjoy playing.

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Important Contacts in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area to Keep Handy

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation               703-818-3787

National Child Abuse Hotline                              800-422-4453

Fairfax County Office for Women                       703-324-5730

Virginia Crime Victim Assistance                        888-887-3418

Montgomery County Abused Persons Program   240-777-4673 (24 hours)

Prince Georges County Sexual Assault                301-618-3154

Prince Georges County Child Advocacy Center  301-909-2089

Baltimore City Child Abuse Center                     410-396-6147

Frederick County Child Advocacy Center           301-600-1758

Howard County Listening Place                           410-313-2630

Washington County Child Advocacy Center       240-420-4308

District of Columbia Metropolitan Police            202-727-9099

Alexandria Victim/Witness Program                    703-746-4100

Arlington County Victim/Witness Program        703-228-7273

Loudon County Victim Witness Program             703-777-0417

Prince William County Victim/Witness               703-392-7083

Attention: The U.S. government opposes FGM/C, no matter the type, degree, or severity, and no matter what the motivation for performing it. The U.S. government considers FGM/C to be a serious human rights abuse, gender-based violence, and, when done to children, a form of child abuse. It is against the law to perform FGM/C in the United States on a girl under the age of 18 or to send or attempt to send her outside the United States so FGM/C can be performed. People who violate this law can face prison time and significant immigration consequences. Additionally, anyone who performs FGM/C on a woman 18 years old or older without her consent may be charged with a crime under other laws.  If someone performed FGM/C on you, you have not violated any U.S. laws and are not at fault, call 1-800-994-9662.