Lady Julia Osei Tutu, wife the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has urged traditional queen mothers to fight against early girl-child marriages in Ghana.
She said the queen mothers were the right people to take up the challenge of speaking against early girl-child marriages since young girls and women looked up to them as role models.
“Who else can take up this mantle to end child marriage if not traditional rulers?” she asked.
Lady Julia made this call when she addressed a gathering at the first ever International Day of the Girl Child in Ghana.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Too young to Marry: End Child Marriage Now’ Lady Julia explained that, the practice of child marriage was high in Ghana: “About one out of four girls marry before their eighteenth birthday. This marriage occurs especially in girls who are least educated, poor and living in rural areas,” she noted.
She said when a girl was educated and not married off at an early age she became empowered and had a better sense of choice and life of an equal opportunity.
She therefore encouraged social, religious and traditional leaders to invest in young people especially girls to enable them become a force for economic development and positive change.
Bernard Coquelin, a representative of the United Nations System in Ghana said the statistics and the reality of losing potential young girls because of early marriages was becoming high in Ghana.
He explained that 39.2% of girls in the Eastern Region, 37.7% in the Western Region, 36.3% in the Upper West Region, and 31.2% in the Central Region and above 27% in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, and Northern and Eastern regions married before age 18.
He added that, early girl-child marriages had a great impact on educational attainment for the young woman.
He said the United Nations would promote and support investments that would build up capabilities in the girl-child and especially girl-child education to end child marriage.
“We hope you are ready because the UN system is ready to support you. Together we will sustain our efforts and commitment to end child marriages in the generation and shift cultural attitudes to protect girls,” he said.
Source: Daily Guide
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