The Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development has called for more action to eliminate the scourge of child marriages which remains a major impediment to the empowerment of women and girls.
Addressing the press early this week, the Women Affairs minister, Sithembiso Nyoni bemoaned the increase in cases of incestuous relationships.
“In some cases incestuous relationships are also on the increase. This scourge poses a serious developmental challenge with complex implication on maternal mortality especially for girls who experience obstetric fistula morbidity, infant mortality, inter-generational poverty- divorces, among girls and young women,” said Nyoni.
“Child marriage also affects girls education. Child brides usually drop out of school and are denied the opportunity to complete their education, thus significantly reducing their ability to earn an income and lift their children out of poverty,” said Nyoni.
The Minister went on to say educated girls are more likely to understand and stand for their rights and enjoy a more fulfilling life.
According to the Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (2015) violence perpetrated on women during pregnancy may threaten not only a woman’s well-being but also her unborn child.
Section 81 of Zimbabwe’s constitution underlines that every child has the right for protection from economic and sexual exploitation, and from neglect or any form of abuse.