More than 9,000 girls in Romania become mothers before turning 19, and one in 15 girls gets married at a young age (15-19 years), according to Save the Children Romania.
Compared to other countries in the world, Romania registers a worrying situation in two indicators related to girls’ protection. A total of 6.7% of the young girls aged 15 to 19 get married, and 34 girls out of 1,000 become mothers, the data shows.
“According to recent research reports by Save the Children and the World Bank, globally, over 20,000 girls under the age limit provided by the national law get married each year, and 44,000 girls aged 15 to 19 become mothers. This Wednesday, on the International Day of the Girl Child, Save the Children Romania draws attention to the serious, long-term consequences that pregnancy and early marriage have on girls,” reads a press release from the organization.
Globally, complications caused by pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of death for adolescent girls aged 15-19.
According to the Romanian Civil Code, girls can get married after they turn 18. However, for good reasons, a child aged 16 may marry based on a medical opinion, with the consent of his or her parents or guardians and with the permission of the court.
According to Save the Children, although the court practice allows the marriage of minors only in exceptional circumstances, Romania has not come out of the risk area. Thus, 6.7% of adolescents aged between 15 and 19 got married. Only Moldova (9.9%), Russia (7.5%), Ukraine (6.4%), Albania (6.5%), Belarus (7.5%) and Bulgaria (8.4%) recorded similar values. The European average is about 2%.
“When a girl marries at an early age, and sometimes we are talking about 15-16 years, her role as a wife and mother becomes a priority. She is more likely to leave school and is vulnerable to abuses. In fact, the lack of protection against sexual abuse and the precariousness of sexual education have led to an increase in the number of children with children, at a rather typical African level than the European one,” said Gabriela Alexandrescu, executive president of Save the Children Romania.
Annually, at a global level, 17 million girls give birth to a child. In Romania, the birth rate among adolescents between 15 and 19 years of age is worrying, of 34 births per 1,000 teenagers. In Europe, only two states have a relatively more serious situation than Romania, namely Bulgaria and Georgia, with 36.8 and 38.3 births respectively.
Moreover, Eurostat data for 2015 showed that Romania had the highest number of births for mothers aged between 10 and 17 in the European Union, namely 9,282 births. This stands for 4.7% of the total births in 2015.
Irina Marica, [email protected]