As restrictive and heteronormative as this country can sometimes seem, in the past two years, Malala Yousafzai has opened our eyes to the realities for young girls and women living in communities where the opportunities for women are even bleaker. She faced serious danger in search of an education, and the unspoken truth is that for many young girls the world over, lack of opportunity means a life spent in unwilling marriage from a remarkably tender age.
According to an infographic by Jan Diehm for The Huffington Post, one in nine girls in "the developing world" (in this case, Mexico, parts of Northern South America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East) are married before they even turn 15. And, the consequences don't stop there: Those same girls are five times more likely to die during childbirth, and their own children in turn are also at risk for illness and death.
There's not much more to say about this infographic (below) than the fact that it is entirely harrowing and terrifying to read from a perspective of such incomparable privilege and freedom. It makes all our wondering whether 25, 35, or never is the right age for marriage seem all the more obsolete. Check it out below, and consider helping out a few of these organizations that strive to help out girls in these situations:
Womankind supports women in Africa, Asia, and South America and provides opportunities for activism by those same women.
The International Organization for Women and Development focuses its efforts in Niger, where rates of underage marriage are some of the highest in the world.
CARE focuses on a variety of social and economic issues, in particular child marriage prevention, awareness, and volunteerism in the developing world.