Saturday, November 26, 2005

Forced to Marry Before Puberty, African Girls Pay Lasting Price

Another article showing the vast gender inequality leading to various injustices on females. Child marriages are prevalent in some parts on India, especially Rajasthan as part of custom. More than 50% girls get married before they reach the age of 18. Most of the girls get married between 13-16 ages. It has been seen though that women are more empowered and female education more widespread this happens less. Take for example the state of Tamil Nadu or HP in India.

The article below does not talk about India but about Africa and how girls are forced to marry as repayment of debt.

Forced to Marry Before Puberty, African Girls Pay Lasting Price - New York Times: "Forced to Marry Before Puberty, African Girls Pay Lasting Price"

CHIKUTU, Malawi - Mapendo Simbeye's problems began early last year when the barren hills along Malawi's northern border with Tanzania rejected his attempts to grow even cassava, the hardiest crop of all. So to feed his wife and five children, he said, he went to his neighbor, Anderson Kalabo, and asked for a loan. Mr. Kalabo gave him 2,000 kwacha, about $16. The family was fed.

But that created another problem: how could Mr. Simbeye, a penniless farmer, repay Mr. Kalabo?

The answer would shock most outsiders, but in sub-Saharan Africa's rural patriarchies, it is deeply ingrained custom. Mr. Simbeye sent his 11-year-old daughter, Mwaka, a shy first grader, down one mangy hillside and up the next to Mr. Kalabo's hut. There she became a servant to his first wife, and, she said, Mr. Kalabo's new bed partner.

Now 12, Mwaka said her parents never told her she was meant to be the second wife of a man roughly three decades her senior. "They said I had to chase birds from the rice garden," she said, studying the ground outside her mud-brick house. "I didn't know anything about marriage."

Mwaka ran away, and her parents took her back after six months. But a week's journey through Malawi's dry and mountainous north suggests that her escape is the exception. In remote lands like this, where boys are valued far more than girls, older men prize young wives, fathers covet dowries and mothers are powerless to intervene, many African girls like Mwaka must leap straight from childhood to marriage at a word from their fathers.

Sometimes that word comes years before they reach puberty.

The consequences of these forced marriages are staggering: adolescence and schooling cut short; early pregnancies and hazardous births; adulthood often condemned to subservience. The list has grown to include exposure to H.I.V. at an age when girls do not grasp the risks of AIDS.
... Contiued on NYTimes.


At 12:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not proble of India or Africa. Due to Europian entrance in the regions, the poverty started. They shown glorious modernisation which is simply market-oriented life style and unfotunately poor people followed them bliendly.

Europian consepts are far different than Asian/Africans.

Parants of Girs are not enimies of their own childrens.
Do not see this issue through eyes of europians.


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