650 million women and girls in the world today – around one in five – were married as children. This proportion is higher in some places than others. In South Asia, 44% of women and girls were married before turning 18, and in some sub-Saharan Africa countries national averages are over 65%. The figures are even higher in certain regions within countries and among particular ethnic groups. Recent analysis by Save the Children shows that more than one-third (35%) of child marriages involve girls from the world’s poorest 20% of households.
In 2015, the global community committed to end child marriage by 2030. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on gender equality requires the elimination of all harmful practices, including child, early and forced marriage. While an estimated 25 million child marriages have been prevented through accelerated progress over the past ten years, no country is currently on track to meet the SDG target to end child marriage among all segments of society by 2030.