Girls Not Brides By Katrina Isabelle Chua, Grade 10

The Zonta Club of Cebu 2 and their guest speakers discussed their commitments to end child marriage with the topic “Girls Not Brides” last January 9.Child marriage is when someone below the age of eighteen gets married. Child marriage affects both girls and boys, but it mostly affects girls. It can be caused by tradition and culture, poverty, religion, and even perceived inability of women to work for money. Italso violates the children’s rights, and it puts them at a high risk of violence, exploitation, and abuse. For girls, it can cause mental health issues and a lack of access to education and career opportunities because they married at a very young age. They can also suffer many health issues as a result of teen pregnancy and early childbirth.  Teenage pregnancy also has higher rates of maternal and child mortality than normal. The Philippines has already committed to eliminate child and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Senate of the Philippines also recently passed a bill that abolishes child marriage in the country. They approved Senate Bill No. 1373 which is also called the “Girls not Brides Act”. These are only some of the actions taken against child marriage today. Child marriage has lasting consequences and strips the children of their freedom and future. Therefore, it is important to work towards ending child marriage and defending the rights and the future of these young people.

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