COMMENT | According to World Vision, the Covid-19 pandemic could expose an additional four million girls to the risk of underaged and forced marriages within the next two years. UN Population Fund researchers have warned that within the next decade, the world could witness an extra 13 million child marriages.
This is, of course, on top of the already staggering number of 12 million girls below the age of 18 married off every year, which come up to one girl every three seconds.
The reason for this is twofold. It is the failure to recognise the disproportionate impact that the outbreak is having on women and girls and it is recovery solutions that do not take into consideration the discrimination and vulnerabilities that they are currently enduring.
The Covid-19 pandemic that started as a health crisis, happened to a Malaysia which was going through a political crisis. It did not help that the situation quickly escalated into an economic crisis. At every step of the way, the welfare of women and girls has fallen again and again through the cracks in a system that provided little, if any, social or economic safety nets for them.
Poverty has always been a key factor contributing to child marriage, as many families regard daughters as ...