In many parts of Mexico girls are deemed ready for marriage when they turn 14, but a campaign that begins this week aims to change that.
The United Nations organization UN Women says statistics indicate 6.8 million Mexican women who married last year had not reached the age of majority, widely accepted as being 18 years.
The figure means that one in five women is still a child when she weds, and more than 60% of those child brides live in conditions of poverty, according to UN Women representative Ana Güezmes García.
The practice, she says, affects the girls’ health, education and integrity, impacting their development and that of their families and contributing to discrimination and violence against them.
Twelve UN agencies are involved in the upcoming campaign, which will call on the federal government to amend federal law to establish 18 years as the minimum age for marriage throughout the country.
Today that law states that girls must be 14 to be eligible to marry, and boys 16. However, some states — Baja California Sur, Jalisco, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz and Yucatán — have already established 18 as the legal marrying age.
The 16-day campaign begins Thursday Nov. 26.
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