Target: Joyce Banda, President of Malawi
Goal: To thank Joyce Banda for proposing to increase the legal age of marriage in Malawi to 21
Currently, Malawi is among the top 25 countries with the highest maternal mortality rates. About a quarter of these deaths are a result of teenage pregnancy. The president of Malawi, Joyce Banda, has acknowledged the issue of teenage pregnancy and has proposed to increase the legal age of marriage to 21.
The low legal age of marriage in Malawi is largely responsible for teenage pregnancies. Young girls are being forced to marry at a young age and have children when they are still children themselves. These girls are ill-equipped both physically and mentally to cope with teenage pregnancy and motherhood. Unfortunately, a large majority of these girls face death or lifelong health issues.
Some parents force their daughters to marry due to financial reasons; parents marry off their daughters in order to collect bride prices. The young girls being married off are at a great disadvantage compared to girls who wed at a later age. Other than being married off at a young age and becoming pregnant in their teenage years, these girls are also denied an education. They cannot pursue an education if they are obligated to care for their husbands and children.
Being married does not ensure the wellbeing and happiness of these young girls. Some of the men they marry are far older than them, putting these girls in the position to become victims of domestic violence and abandonment. By marrying these girls off at such a young age, their parents are making them completely dependent on their husbands. A young girl will be forced to endure domestic violence because she will not be able to survive without her husband; a girl who is abandoned by her husband will have no one to support her or her children.
By proposing to increase the legal age of marriage, President Banda is giving the girls in Malawi a brighter future. These girls will have a better chance of obtaining an education and preparing themselves for adulthood.They will be far more well-equipped both mentally and physically to marry and have children. In addition to giving girls the chance to reach adulthood before marriage, raising the legal marriage age will help to decrease maternal mortality rates because less young girls will die from teenage pregnancy.
Commend President Banda for her efforts in improving the lives of young girls in Malawi. Sign the petition below to thank President Banda for acknowledging and attempting to mend the issues associated with the low legal age of marriage.
Dear President Banda,
I would like to thank you for your efforts in improving the lives and living conditions of young girls in Malawi. By proposing to increase the legal marriage age to 21, you are helping give these girls a brighter future. These girls will be able to obtain an education and eventually use their education to support themselves. Also, by increasing the legal marriage age, you are helping these girls reach adulthood before they marry and have children.
These girls will be more physically and mentally able to face the challenges of marriage and motherhood. Thank you for acknowledging and attempting to mend the issues associated with the low legal marriage age in Malawi.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: DFID – UK Department for International Development via Flickr