MICHELLE VARINATA WRITES – With a license to drive and big birthday plans, nothing is more blissful than being 16. Throw in a wedding ring and all of a sudden, being 16-years-old is equivalent to being an adult. Welcome to Indonesia, a country where children as young as 16 can legally marry.
Recently, a petition has been started on Change.org by Koalisi 18+ begging the Indonesian government to raise the minimum age of marriage for girls from 16 to 18. The petition addresses issues related to Indonesia’s low marriage age for girls, which include domestic abuse, death, and being unable to cope with motherhood.
Child marriage is also directly correlated to education, seeing as how girls who marry often stop pursuing higher education. Surveys across the nation reveal that 42% of teen girls are currently married and 359 die from pregnancy.
In a segment about Koalisi 18+, the Jakarta Globe interviews Anggara, a member of the organization. She says: “Early marriages deprive girls of educational opportunities and their fundamental rights. They perpetuate a vicious cycle of poverty and death, with teens forced to give birth to infants and raise families without proper knowledge and access to health services.”
While the Koalisi 18+ petition has already gained 13,000 signatures, the cause is spreading on Twitter as #stopperkawinanak (English translation: stop child marriage). Are you ready to end child marriage? Change the world with one signature!