| Child marriage is a human rights violation. Despite laws against it, the practice remains widespread, in part because of persistent poverty and gender inequality. In developing countries, one in every three girls is married before reaching age 18. One in nine is married under age 15. Child marriage threatens girls’ lives and health, and it limits their future prospects. Girls pressed into child marriage often become pregnant while still adolescents, increasing the risk of complications in pregnancy or childbirth. These complications are a leading cause of death among older adolescents in developing countries. UNFPA promotes legislation and programmes designed to end child marriage. UNFPA also supports evidence-based, girl-centred investments that empower girls with the information, skills and services they need to be healthy, educated and safe, helping them make a successful transition to adulthood. UNFPA also works to support the needs of married girls particularly in family planning and maternal health.
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