Women in UzbekistanAfter the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan, like many post-Soviet nations, experienced a surge of conservative culture amongst the ruling elites and the general population. This surge led to the implementation of policies that were more restrictive to women than the previous Soviet policies had been. Women in Uzbekistan have long been excluded from policymaking. Now, women in Uzbekistan are taking to activism to ensure their voices are heard.

ACTED Uzbekistan

ACTED Uzbekistan is an organization that works to uplift the voices of women and girls throughout the country. It is a European Union-funded project that raises awareness for women’s issues and helps to mobilize women who otherwise may have been unsure how to begin. In addition to fieldwork, ACTED Uzbekistan also works to generate a report every year that analyzes the gender equality status in the country and offers suggestions on how to increase equality. Through the implementation of this project, a greater number of female activists have been able to claim platforms and affect policy.

Child Brides in Uzbekistan

One of the largest issues for activists currently is child marriage within the country. Though the law requires that girls be at least 17 years old before they are married, families have begun to pursue more religious ceremonies that legally eliminate the need for a civil union. As more girls are married off young, the amount of women in higher education and public office decreases and the cycle of discrimination continues. To combat this, organizations such as UNICEF and Girls Not Brides have partnered with the country’s Committee of Women to raise awareness of the detriments of child marriage, help young brides in danger and push for legislation that will end this practice once and for all.

HIV/AIDs in Uzbekistan

Another issue that has generated a lot of female activism has been the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country. Roughly 50,000 people in the country are currently living with the disease, according to UNAIDS, but through activism, the numbers have come down in the past few years. Organizations such as the Day Center for HIV Affected Families gather volunteers, many of them HIV positive themselves, and they work to provide assistance to struggling families while also providing educational material on HIV/AIDS and how to prevent it. Many of these activists are young women who were born HIV positive and who are committed to helping others like them.

Domestic Violence

In addition to the aforementioned activist initiatives, a large movement has begun in the country to identify and counter domestic violence. Like many nations, domestic violence in Uzbekistan is still seen as a personal issue and there are no provisions in the law that prohibit violence perpetrated by a spouse or parent. Both the official Women’s Committee and nongovernmental organizations have worked to combat this issue, with the Women’s Committee focused mostly on establishing crisis centers and shelters and NGOs promoting awareness and education on the issue. With both of these measures applied in conjunction, the country is slowly starting to recognize domestic violence as an issue.

The Necessity of Women’s Activism

As the United Nations and many NGOs have stated, women’s activism is necessary for progress. In Uzbekistan, this is evident by all of the work women have done to increase female participation, counter disease and help other women in need. The work gives evidence to a brighter future for women in the country but also for the people of Uzbekistan at large.

– Mary Buffaloe
Photo: Flickr

Women's rights in India
India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is the product of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) effort to formulate strict guidelines on the question of who is is not an Indian citizen. The CAA has damaging effects on women’s rights in India.

In December 2019 this harmful legislation became law. Two days after it passed through the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s parliament, it was approved by the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India’s parliament. To fulfill a BJP campaign promise, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind swiftly signed the CAA into law.


The CAA became law on December 12, 2019. Protests began immediately. On December 16, 2019, women gathered at Shaheen Bagh, a neighborhood in South Delhi, to protest the CAA.

These protests continue today, although tactics have shifted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Protesters like Kanchan Yadav have utilized online channels in ongoing protests against the CAA. A highly controversial law, the CAA has devastating implications for India’s Muslim minority, as well as for women’s rights in India.

The Effect of the CAA on Women’s Rights in India

In order to secure one’s status as a citizen, the CAA requires Indians to provide scrupulous documentation proving that he or she has been an Indian citizen since before March 25, 1971, or that one’s family claims citizenship back to that date. Many Indian women lack such documents for various systemic reasons. For example, of the total number of child brides in India, half were married before the age of 15, prior to the age at which they would have begun what Americans think of as secondary education.

Illiteracy disproportionately affects Indian women compared with Indian men. Just over half of all women in India are literate, whereas the literacy rate of Indian men surges to over 80% of the male population. This disparity contributes to circumstances in which Indian women are more susceptible to unemployment, poverty and hunger than their male counterparts.

In rural areas, Indian women are often unemployed or underemployed. Less than 10% of the total number of households in India are headed by women. These factors contribute to the looming reality that when the BJP run government comes looking for proof of citizenship, many women will be unable to provide the required documents. Indian women whose citizenship is revoked as a result of BJP policy will lose their right to property and their right to vote.

Global Solidarity With Protests in India

In India, protests against the CAA are unrelenting. Indian women have rightfully identified the threat that the CAA poses to their already unsteady status in Indian society, and protests continue throughout the country and in the digital sphere. These protests are a big step in defense of women’s rights in India. From Shareen Bagh to San Francisco to South Africa, the call to civil disobedience resounds.

Taylor Pangman
Photo: Wikimedia


Child Labor in Saudi Arabia
Many know Saudi Arabia as one of the richest countries in the world. With the second largest natural oil reserve underground, Saudi Arabia is rapidly accumulating wealth and political power in international affairs. However, there is a dark side to the flashy urban lights of Saudi Arabia. The wealth gap that exists between the rich and the poor, coupled with the country’s patriarchal tradition and its recent conflict with the Houthi movement in Yemen, puts many Saudi and immigrant children in danger of child labor, violence and economic exploitation. Here are 10 facts about child labor in Saudi Arabia.

10 Facts About Child Labor in Saudi Arabia

  1. Poverty is the main cause of Saudi Arabia’s Child Labor. While Saudi Arabia is famous for its wealth, thanks in large part to the second-largest oil deposits in the world, there is a big economic disparity between the poor and the rich. According to a study that the Saudi Arabian government funded in 2015, 22 percent of families in Saudi Arabia depend on their children’s income.
  2. The minimum employment age is 13. In the royal decree of 1969, Saudi Arabia enacted a law that set the minimum employment age to 13 years old and banned children from working in hazardous conditions. This does not apply to works in the family business, domestic labor and agricultural work. Some employers of Saudi Arabia exploit a loophole in the law. For example, this law does not address the child brides of Saudi Arabia. If a child bride does any house chores or agricultural work for her husband’s family, it will not be a violation of the minimum employment age law.
  3. There are cases of child labor trafficking from neighboring countries. Stemming from Saudi Arabia’s recent conflict with Yemen, which left Yemen devastated, wartorn and practically lawless, some Yemeni parents are seeking illegal agents who will traffick their children to Saudi Arabia. While some Yemeni parents traffick their children to Saudi Arabia to save them from the desperate conditions in Yemen, other parents traffick their children in hopes of economic relief provided by their children’s labor in Saudi Arabia. While deportation is the main concern of many Yemeni parents for their trafficked children, many trafficked Yemeni children are in danger of violence, hunger and sexual abuse.
  4. Child workers usually have parents who have low professional and education level. The low education and professional level of child workers’ parents, coupled with economic disparity, make poverty in Saudi Arabia hereditary. Saudi Arabia is taking steps to ameliorate this issue. In early 2018, the Saudi government declared that it aims to eradicate adult illiteracy by 2024. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education established adult education centers across the country and launched the Learning Neighborhood program in 2006 in pursuit of this goal.
  5. Children of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia do not have protection under a law that prohibits forced or compulsory labor. Saudi Arabia’s labor law does prohibit forced labor, however, these measures do not extend to over 12 million migrant workers in the country. Some employers exploit this loophole in the labor laws, which sometimes results in physical, mental and sexual abuse of migrant workers and their children.
  6. Saudi Arabia’s citizenship requirement puts Saudi children in danger of child labor and human trafficking. A Saudi child’s citizenship comes from his or her father. If a child has a citizen mother and a non-citizen father, or from a mother who is not legally married to a citizen father, there is a chance that the country will consider the child a stateless person. As a result of being stateless, Saudi Arabia can deny a child state education, and in certain cases, medical attention. According to the U.S. Department of State, about 5 percent of street begging children in Saudi Arabia are Saudi nationals of unknown parents.
  7. The Saudi government is working with the international community to combat child labor. In 2016, with technical advisory services support from the International Labour Organization (ILO), Saudi Arabia ratified its report for ILO’s Minimum Age Convention of 1973. According to the United Nations’ 2016 report on Saudi Arabia’s adherence to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Saudi Arabia adopted and implemented regulations against child abuse and human trafficking. As part of the new labor reforms and regulations in 2015, for example, the Labor Ministry of Saudi Arabia can impose SR $20,000 ($5,333) on employers who employ children under 15-years old.
  8. In 2014, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Women’s World Summit Foundation (WWSF) launched a campaign against child labor in Saudi Arabia. For 19-days, WWSF campaigned to raise awareness for child labor, abuse and violence against children and youth. The National Family Safety Program of Saudi Arabia also launched its four-day program which raised awareness for economic exploitation and abuse of children in Saudi Arabia. Through these campaigns, both WWSF and the Saudi government aimed to reduce child labor in Saudi Arabia by highlighting that child labor contributes to the abuse of children by harming children’s health, physical development, psychological health and access to education.
  9. UNICEF and the Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs opened a reception center for trafficked Yemeni children. Many trafficked Yemeni children end up in the streets of Saudi Arabian cities as beggars or street vendors. In the worst cases, these trafficked children are under severe danger of exploitation and abuse. When the Saudi authorities detained them, these Yemeni children usually went to prison or open-air enclosures with adult deportees. The center provides shelter for these children.
  10. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 aims to address the country’s poverty. Launched in April 2016, the Saudi government plans to address the country’s poverty by improving state education and empowering nonprofit organizations. These improvements can lead to making more opportunities available for the children and parents of poor economic background, potentially reducing child labor in Saudi Arabia. In this pursuit, the Saudi government granted $51 billion to the education sector. The Ministry of education established educational centers all around the country to improve adult literacy and theories determine that this improvement in adult literacy will also improve child literacy.

Child labor in Saudi Arabia is both a local and international issue. While the stateless and poor children of Saudi Arabia turn to street vending and begging to support their families, many trafficked Yemeni children in the country are under constant threat of violence and exploitation. These 10 facts about child labor in Saudi Arabia show that with the help of the international community and the Saudi government’s increasing awareness of its less fortunate populace, a better future awaits for the children of Saudi Arabia.

YongJin Yi
Photo: Flickr

The Crippling Effects on Poverty of Child Brides and the Benefits of Abolishment
The “Economic Impacts of Child Marriage” project (funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, and the Global Partnership for Education are a few of many projects whose goals were to abolish child marriages. These movements were apart of a three-year research project led by the World Bank and the International Center for Research on Women.

A Global Research Project

The research project explored the impacts of child marriage in fertility and population growth, educational attainment and learning, labor force participation, decision-making and investments, health, nutrition and violence. Through this project’s research, the organization concluded that ending the practice of child marriage could save the global economy trillions of dollars between now and 2030.

Poverty-ridden families offering their daughters as child brides is a common means at eliminating certain living costs. Once a daughter is sent away for marriage, there is one less person to feed, clothe and educate; moreover, a dowry or “bride price” is often welcome income for these poor families. However, younger girls are often the chosen demographic for this practice since the older a girl gets, the more expensive the dowry becomes.

Issues with the Practice of Child Brides

One of the main problems with this practice is its invocation of an endless cycle of poverty. Younger girls married away for money often do not get the chance to continue their education; this occurrence severely limits the opportunities of economic growth for both her immediate and newly extended family.

Child brides also have to perform a great deal of unpaid work in the home, such as cleaning, cooking and caring for their husbands, in-laws and children. However, not marrying early and staying in school often leads to a girl becoming healthier and wealthier. In fact, an extra year of primary education for girls also can boost their future earnings by 15 percent.

Consequences of Premature Marriage for Child Brides

There are several severe consequences of child brides who are married off prematurely. Girls who get married early often have to break off previous relationships after marriage and cannot maintain connections with people outside of their families. Isolation can cause severe psychological consequences for both mothers and their babies.

There are also the strains the life of a wife can take on such a young girl’s body. Specifically, early child-bearing is a common incident that risks both young girls’ and their babies’ lives. According to the World Health Organization, the most frequent cause of death in young women aged 15 to 18 is complications during pregnancy and birth.

The non-governmental organization Girls Not Brides has also found “when a mother is under 20, her child is 50 percent more likely to be stillborn or die within its first weeks of life than a baby born to an older mother.”

The International Costs of Child Brides

The World Bank and the International Center for Research on Women has estimated that by 2030 child marriage will ironically cost developing countries trillions in dollars. These organizations push for an end of child brides as a means to alleviate immediate poverty and produce long-lasting economic growth.

The World Bank notes that ending child marriages would have a strong positive effect on the educational levels of girls and their children as well as increase women’s expected earnings. In addition, household welfare, substantial reductions in population growth over time and reduction in rates of under-five mortality and delayed physical development were found.

All in all, the marriage of child brides is a practice that should be abandoned for it numerous economic, personal and societal costs.

– Richard Zarrilli

Photo: Flickr

Child Marriage in Afghanistan
Child marriage in Afghanistan is so common that over 30% of all girls are married before the age of 18. This disturbing figure bears more than a cursory glance. Aside from causing immense emotional and physical duress for child brides, the practice also massively hinders the girls’ ability to access education.

The phenomenon of child marriage in Afghanistan is not unique to the country, nor even to South Asia. In fact, the country with the highest prevalence of child brides is Niger, with 76% of girls married by the age of 18. In South Asia, the largest absolute number of child brides is in India — where 12 million children were married before the age of 10.

These figures speak to the fact that child marriage is not a phenomenon of any one race or religion. It has developed independently around the world, often for financial benefit or social mobility. However, in all cases, the effects on young girls have been devastating.

In Afghanistan, the relationship between the occurrence of child marriage and lack of education for females is chilling. Only 14% of girls are literate and only 36 percent are receiving an education. Naturally, these figures cannot be a result of child marriage in Afghanistan alone.

Factors Leading to Child Marriage in Afghanistan

Other factors created by a highly patriarchal society must be taken into consideration. Nevertheless, marrying off girls at a young age has an undeniable influence on their education.

The clearest way that child marriage affects female education is by causing girls to drop out of school in preparation for marriage or pregnancy.

This choice reflects a larger mentality where education for females is considered less valuable than marriage — a far more lucrative venture for families that consider their daughters to be liabilities. Once the girl is married, it can be hard for her to return to school, since she now has a family that takes up most of her time.

Girls Not Brides, an organization focused on ending child marriage states that girls with no education are three times as likely to marry by 18 as those with secondary or higher education.

In addition, over 60 percent of women ages 20-24 with no education were married before 18. Clearly, education is both a catalyst for and a consequence of lowered rates of child marriage.

Educating girls at the secondary school level equips them with the ability to recognize when and whom they want to marry. It also ensures that they have skills that make them self-reliant financially and emotionally.

The mere practice of being in school also furthers the perception that girls are still too young to be married and must invest their time in learning instead of child rearing.

Child marriage in Afghanistan is a direct result of poverty, strong patriarchal values, lack of access to education and cultural practices. All of these factors could be prevented by increasing female participation in schooling, as not only would girls be immediately affected; their qualifications would also allow them to later have a voice in decision making.

Mallika Khanna

Photo: Flickr

 Child Marriage and Trafficking
A new app, Girl Power, is helping to track girls in India and Bangladesh, where the rate of child marriage and trafficking have been especially high in the last few decades.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that 200,000 to 250,000 women and children are trafficked annually to Southeast Asia alone, and more than 1 million children are affected globally every year. West Bengal is a state that accounts for a fifth of India’s 5,466 cases of human trafficking, reported in 2014.

India has the highest number of child brides in the world, according to Girls Not Brides, a nonprofit committed to ending child marriage. It is estimated that 47 percent of girls in India are married before their 18th birthday.

Accenture and the NGO Child in Need Institute (CINI) launched “GPower” in 2015. According to Reuters, it has been used to track over 6,000 families in 20 villages in West Bengal.

“The technology helps us identify the most vulnerable of the girls in minutes,” said Indrani Bhattacharya in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Community workers or teachers within the village are trained to use the tablets provided, which already have the app installed. The app requires the user to answer a set of questions on health, nutrition, protection and education, which help to determine the vulnerability of the respondent.

The questionnaire takes approximately 30 minutes to complete, and analysis of the answers takes place in a matter of minutes. Using the information collected, community workers can decide whether or not girls are appropriate candidates for counseling, vocational training or government welfare schemes. The community workers register all details for each girl between the ages of 10 and 19 in a given village.

So far, GPower has helped save 200 girls from trafficking or becoming a victim of child marriage across 20 villages in Bangladesh and India. It is likely that the app will continue to a have a positive impact, as India is the world’s second-biggest market for mobile phones, with more than 1 billion users. Apps, from weather reports to health services, are gaining a lot of popularity among rural communities.

“The problem in India is one of scale – there is only so much that an NGO can do in terms of reach,” said Sanjay Podder, managing director at Accenture Labs in Bengaluru. “To address social problems, technology is not just nice to have, it is necessary.”

Michelle Simon

Photo: Flickr

India Child Marriage

Young girls are most vulnerable and susceptible to child marriage after a natural disaster or political crisis strikes. Aid agencies are often quick to respond with essential resources such as shelter, food and water. However, improvements have yet to be made regarding the provision of services for preventing child marriage.

According to UNICEF, 14.2 million girls are forced to wed before they turn 18. Between 2011 and 2020, more than 140 million girls will become child brides, stated a report by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

“Child marriage is an appalling violation of human rights and robs girls of their education, health and long-term prospects,” said Babatunde Osotimehin, M.D, Executive Director of UNFPA. “A girl who is married as a child is one whose potential will not be fulfilled. Since many parents and communities also want the very best for their daughters, we must work together and end child marriage.”

Families that struggle with the challenges left behind by natural disasters are more likely to allow their children to be married off in the wake of a crisis. In some cases, parents agree to child marriage because they want to spare their daughters from a life of poverty, according to a report by the Women’s Refugee Commission.

The 10 countries with the highest rates of child marriage are: Niger (75 percent); Chad and Central African Republic (68 percent); Bangladesh (66 Percent); Guinea (63 percent); Mozambique (56 percent); Mali (55 percent); Burkina Faso and South Sudan (52 percent) and Malawi (50 percent).

In 2011, the Women’s Refugee Commission began to evaluate the lives of displaced girls from Uganda, the Congo, Syria and Somalia. The resulting report found that poverty, especially when exacerbated by natural disasters, continues to be one of the main drivers of early marriage, as “parents hope to secure a daughter’s future or to meet basic needs”.

The report identified six solutions for preventing child marriage.

  1. Provide Adequate Food, Clothing and Shelter: governments and aid agencies must provide families with necessities so that there is no benefit in marrying off their daughters at young ages.
  2. Prioritize Education: Young brides are more often than not deprived of education. Education is key to breaking the vicious cycle of child marriage. Education can also expose girls to the risks of early pregnancy, childbearing and motherhood before they are physically and psychologically ready.
  3. Identify Child Brides: It is critical to know how to identify child brides in order to help them. Girl Power, an app headquartered in India, is tackling this problem.
  4. Involve a Range of Actors: Preventing child marriage requires the assistance of stakeholders that belong to a variety of areas of expertise, as the problem is not just one of education, but also surrounds health care and creating sustainable solutions.
  5. Understand the Nuances Involved: Advocates must research and learn what drives displaced girls to get married after the passing of a disaster (either natural or political).
  6. Pilot Intervention Programs: The report calls on activists and leaders to establish programs that can target young girls at risk of child marriage during crises. This involves health programming, community education and economic interventions.

According to their website, the Every Woman Every Child initiative is a movement that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action by governments, multilaterals, the private sector and civil society to address the major health challenges facing women, children and adolescents around the world.

“I urge governments, community and religious leaders, civil society, the private sector and families – especially men and boys – to do their part to let girls be girls, not brides,” said Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Secretary-General, who launched the initiative.

Michelle Simon

Child Brides Fight Back - The Borgen Project
In recent years, a number of young women have rebelled against the husbands they were forced to marry. In April, a 14-year-old in Kano, Nigeria, murdered her 35-year-old husband with rat poison at their wedding celebration. Another, Zeinabou Moussa, ran away from her husband’s home on at least four separate occasions. After a final incident, her husband divorced her. Her parents say she will not be forced to marry again.

Zeinabou is one girl of many millions who are forced to marry early and become a child bride. In West Africa, around half of girls under the age of 18 are forced to marry. In regions of Chad and Niger, that number is around 70 percent. Girls under 15 in these countries are more likely to be wed than anywhere else in the world.

There are a number of reasons practices like this are kept in place. The first is poor education. Parents will often send their young boys to school because a higher value is placed on men. Many of the families who send their daughters to be child brides are often very poor and can expect that they will get a dowry in return from these educated men. Additionally, parents do not feel that it is appropriate for their daughters to engage in promiscuous activity out of wedlock, which is another reason early marriage is so prominent.

The practice is part of a vicious cycle. Adolescence, as well as education, is cut short, and this leads to an increase in teenage pregnancy and deaths during births. The spread of HIV is also adding to the problem.

Although there is some rebellion beginning against this tradition, many are not optimistic about the outcome. The Ford Foundation from New York conducted a study that showed that, on the whole, the trend in West African countries is headed toward even younger child brides.

Still, small pockets of land are getting better. In Nigeria and Niger, girls are learning about the potential risks of early marriage in special schools provided by the U.N. Population Fund. By the year 2018, over 150,000 girls will have completed this education.

The battle against child marriage is also being fought on the legal front. In countries like Malawi, girls can be forced to wed as young as 15 if they have their parents’ consent; however, upcoming legislation will attempt to bump it to 18, the legal age of consent in the country.

Such laws will play a big role in curbing the rising number of child brides, and all of the complications that accompany early marriages. The laws are prompting traditional chiefs to speak out against these marriages. Regarded for their community influence, these chiefs can spur campaigns that give girls the power to say “no.”

– Andrew Rywak

Sources: New York Daily News New York Times, The Economist
Photo: Girls Not Brides

girls not brides
There are girls as young as 13-years-old married off throughout the world. In developing countries, one out of every seven girls is married before her 15th birthday.

Girls married younger than the age of 18 often report that have been beaten by their husbands and forced to have sex. These girls often think it is acceptable for their husbands to beat them and make them feel powerless.

The main reasons for girls being married off include culture and parents’ desire to counteract a fear of their daughter getting molested. Tradition and culture are a big reason for young girls being married off; families are scared to stray from tradition in fear of being excluded from their communities. Poverty is another cause of child marriage. Poor families often marry off their daughters so that they have less expenses. They have one less body to feed, educate and clothe.

Although parents in certain situations marry their daughters off at young ages trying protect them, the young girls are still losing their human rights. They completely lose their childhoods.

Girls Not Brides is an organization working to protect girls from being married at a young age. They give a voice to the voiceless. Members of this organization are based in Africa, America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East; they are united in helping girls reach their full potential and not being married off at a young age.

Girls Not Brides works with 350 other civil organizations from over 60 countries. They believe that partnering up will bring attention to the issue and show that there are others who want to stop young marriages too.

Girls Not Brides reaches out to young girls and helps them feel empowered. They supply young girls with skills that will be useful in the future and have different workshops to show girls how to use their newly learned skills. This program also sets up support groups for young girls and boys to share their experiences so that they can become advocates against child marriage themselves.

Girls Not Brides has put together a technical brief on ending child marriages. Please take a look and see what you can do to help.

Priscilla Rodarte

Sources: Girls Not Brides, Girls Not Brides, Girls Not Brides, Slate
Photo: WUNRN

Women’s rights in Iraq are in danger of being further limited. A new law up for vote in the government would allow girls as young as nine to be married. The law, called the Jaafari Personal Status Law, would also require women to submit to sex with their husbands at any time. Activists throughout the world voiced their objection to the proposed law calling it a major setback for the country.

Many are concerned that this is a beginning sign of a rollback of women’s rights in Iraq. Currently, the minimum age for marriage without parental consent is 18. Girls as young as 15 are currently allowed to get married as long as they have parental consent. This law is put forth by people who base the ideology behind the legislation on the principles of a Shiite school of religious law. Basing the law on one religious affiliation may cause tension between other sects in the country.

The law does not specify a minimum age for girls to get married. Instead it is passively mentioned in the section of the law dealing with divorce. The law outlines rules for divorce for girls as young as nine years old. The law also says that nine years old is the age that girls reach puberty. Many critics of the view claim that the specified age in the divorce section mean that they intend to allow girls that are that young get married.

Sunni female lawmaker Likaa Wardi criticized the law for violating the rights of women and children, “The Jaafari law will pave the way to the establishments of courts for Shiites only, and this will force others sects to form their own courts. This move will widen the rift among the Iraqi people.” Opposition to the law has been mounting over the past couple of weeks in hopes that enough pressure can be put on the government to scrap the law.

– Colleen Eckvahl

Photo: Deccan Chronicle
The Huffington Post, The Guardian