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'Too Young to Wed' exhibition opens at LSE

TooYoungToWed_113x148The acclaimed photographic exhibition ‘Too Young to Wed’ has officially arrived at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where it will be in residence until Friday 1 August. The exhibition at LSE is an abbreviated version of a larger exhibition which has been shown in 32 countries, raising awareness around the world of the psychological, health and human rights implications of child marriage.

Welcoming the photographer, Stephanie Sinclair, and her work to the School, Professor Stuart Corbridge, Provost and Deputy Director of LSE, said: “We are delighted LSE Arts is hosting this exhibition of beautiful photographs by Stephanie which, unfortunately, depict a tragic reality for many young girls. Girls from around the world forced to abandon their education and their dreams and often start bearing children while they are still children themselves.”

Sinclair first came across the issue of child marriage in 2003. In a burns ward in a hospital in Afghanistan, she met a 15 year old girl who had set herself on fire. She had broken her husband’s TV set and so feared her punishment that she set herself alight. The girl had been married at the age of nine.

TooYoungToWedSS_113x148Child marriage happens in more than 50 countries around the world. It’s not legal, but there is little the authorities can do to stop it. If they were to intervene, the consequences for the girl and her family could also be dire. Sinclair says: “Despite laws that forbid it, long-held cultural traditions die hard.”

Rates of child marriage are decreasing, but if the current trend continues more than one million more young girls will be married over the next decade.

Professor Corbridge added: “At LSE, we have a strong commitment to human rights – and we believe that the social sciences can make a critical contribution to improving lives. Through our research, we know that educating girls is a critical factor in economic development and that ensuring basic health services for rural communities is a driver for reducing poverty. By sharing this knowledge with policy makers and with communities, harmful practices might change.”

Both Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development, and Dr Babtunde, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, also spoke at the event.

See the event listing here.

Pictures courtesy of Russell Watkins/DFID.