Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be born a girl — a girl born into poverty versus one born into wealth — and how incredibly different their paths can be.
One common theme I’ve noticed is choice. Too often, a girl born into poverty (every person born into poverty, really) has very few opportunities to shape her course of life. One major decision over which many have little control is early marriage. Over the next couple of posts, we’ll peer into this complex issue; the next post will focus specifically on early marriage in Mozambique.
Here is a graph from The Economist:
Underage marriage actually is illegal in many countries. But, as we’ll see in the next post, cultural tradition in rural areas often weighs much more than the written law, and girls are the ones who bear the brunt of this burden.
Young girls from impoverished families most often are paired with older (sometimes much older) men who can feed them and provide basic necessities for life. At that instant, they must grow up, leaving childhood behind.
The girls leave school and, essentially, become domestic servants, performing household chores until their bodies can conceive children — when they must quickly switch from being a child to being a mother.
Where FH works in Mozambique, rape sometimes is used as a means to secure a wife. We will learn more about this and the wider issue of early marriage in Mozambique from Halkeno Terfasa, one of our amazing FH/Mozambique staff members, in the next post….