(© UNICEF/Frank Dejongh)

The power of education to end child marriage

Child marriage is closely associated with deprivations in education, health, access to resources and empowerment. One of the biggest deprivations is the exit from schooling that often goes along with the marriage of a child. As the world comes together to accelerate progress against child marriage, understanding what drives change in how people think about the harmful practices—and act—is key to its elimination.

During the Transforming Education Summit at the 77th United Nations General Assembly, UNICEF released a new analysis entitled The Power of Education to End Child Marriage. According to UNICEF, "This publication uses data to illustrate how child marriage and schooling are related, showing the likelihood of child marriage among populations with different levels of education, as well as the educational status of girls who are child brides today."

Among the key findings:

  • The girls most at risk of becoming child brides are those with little or no education. Every year of schooling matters, but advancing through secondary school is especially protective.
  • If all girls were to complete secondary school, the level of child marriage would likely fall by two-thirds (66%). If all girls continued on to higher education, the level would drop by more than 80%.
  • In the top three countries for child marriage, no more than 5% of girls finish secondary school. 

Download data brief

Zonta International has supported ending child marriage since 2014 and is currently partnering with UNFPA and UNICEF USA for the Global Programme to End Child Marriage. Click here to learn more about how the program is engaging adolescent girls as key agents of change in 12 countries with high prevalence of child marriage.

10 OCTOBER 2022