The U.S. House of Representatives is being urged to find a few minutes this week for a vote that would change the lives of girls around the world for the better. The International Women’s Health Coalition has launched a petition drive to help “Pass the Child Marriage Act Before Time Runs Out.”
The U.S. Senate did its part by passing the bill last week. The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act, recognizes child marriage as a violation of human rights for girls regardless of country of origin. The bill would move the U.S. towards providing more financial support for women's and girls' education, health, economic and legal status across the globe.
In the next ten years, 100 million girls will be married off against their consent before the age of 18. Their chance of dying in childbirth is five times those aged 20-24, and their risk of contracting HIV significantly increases. If the House passes the bill, the U.S. State Department will fight child marriage by expanding investments in other countries to empower girls and promote community understanding about the harmful impact of child marriage.