Nearly every state in the U.S. permits marriage of boys and girls under age 18. Little known fact: there were over 200,000 youth married across the country between 2000-2015.

In light of mounting evidence, many states have moved to address the issue. Yet legal loopholes and lack of data on the prevalence and impacts of the practice continue to leave young girls – and in some cases boys – vulnerable. Marrying early has universally detrimental effects over a range of outcomes, including educational attainment; earnings; physical, reproductive, and mental health; experiences of violence; and likelihood of divorce.

We hosted an event on October 21, 2020 on the prevalence of child marriage in the U.S. and the broader implications for youth and their families.

Moderator:
– Maryum Saifee, policymaker and gender equality expert

Speakers:
– Mara Steinhaus, Senior Research and Learning Specialist at WomenStrong International (ICRW report author)
– Kristen Zaleski, Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work at University of Southern California (USC), Dept. of Mental Health and Wellness
– Lyric Thompson, Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)

ICRW Reports:
– https://www.icrw.org/publications/child-marriage-in-the-united-states-a-synthesis-of-evidence-on-the-prevalence-impact/
– https://www.icrw.org/publications/child-marriage-in-north-carolina-evidence-and-policy-recommendations/

Research by Dr. Zaleski and team:
– The Lived Experience of Child Marriage in the United States: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19371918.2019.1575312

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