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Social Justice > Season 02 > Child Brides Project

Date: 17.03.2011 (Season 2 - Episode 21)

Child Brides Project Fights Early Marriage Tradition in Turkey

On 17 March 2011 Sabanci Foundation's "Turkey's Changemakers" program hosts "Child Brides", a project implemented by the Flying Broom Women's Communication and Research Foundation to raise awareness about a pressing issue in Turkish society: early marriages.

According to a study by Hacettepe University, 39.7% of women in Turkey were married below the age of 18. There are currently 5 million 439 thousand 367 women in Turkey who married before that age. 7 million 170 thousand 423 women's marriages were arranged by their families. The study, which was presented to the Grand National Assembly's Commission on Equal Opportunity for Men and Women, also points out to the fact that 2 million 1686 women in Turkey had a bride price on them. In other words, every other woman in Turkey are getting married at a young age, as arranged marriages and bride price are the main deciding factors for marriages.

Although these statistics point at the gravity of the "child bride" issue in Turkey, there is an organization that persists in its efforts to address this problem: the Flying Broom Women's Communication and Research Foundation (The Flying Broom). Since 1996, the Flying Broom has been implementing projects in order to raise awareness about and provide solutions with women's issues in Turkey. Their last project, the "Child Brides" aims to change public attitude towards child brides by reaching women, children, families, communities, government and civil society institutions in 54 provinces of Turkey.

Supported by the Sabanci Foundation, the 18 months project organizes seminars, screenings and panels in order to reach a large crowd. The project speaks to families, elementary school teachers, religious and community leaders to convey the message about the harms of early marriage and the issues that child brides face. While educating the community, the project also advocates against early marriages by reaching local governments, public decision-makers and the Grand National Assembly. The "Child Brides" project has reached 15 thousand people until today.

"Marriage is not a child but an adult right. Early marriage is an exploitation of child rights, it is a criminal act. Engaging all the stakeholders of society through collaborative work we should prevent early marriages to create a brighter future for our children" says Selen Dogan, the coordinator of "Child Bride" project.

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