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Rights Not Roses

Ending child, early, and forced marriage in Pakistan


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About the Episode

Ending child, early, and forced marriage in Pakistan: How are community leaders addressing the root causes of the issue?

Child, early, and forced marriage is any marriage—either formal or informal—where at least one of the parties is below the age of 18 and has not expressed full, free, and informed consent. It is a human rights violation, and a harmful practice that disproportionately affects girls. Every year, 12 million girls are married before they turn 18—nearly one every two seconds. It happens in all parts of the world, from the Middle East to Latin America, South Asia to the U.S.

In “Rights Not Roses,” we hear directly from Zarmina, a survivor of early marriage. We meet a network of community activists fighting to end the scourge of child, early, and forced marriage in Pakistan, where 21% of girls are married before the age of 18. These include Rukhshanda Naz, a human rights attorney and long-time women’s rights leader who is fighting in Pakistan’s courts to extricate girls like Zarmina from early and forced marriages, and whose passionate advocacy for ending child marriage is informed by her family’s own experiences.

Watch the episode trailer now.

Meet the Activists: Rukhshanda Naz

Rukhshanda Naz is a Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist. She has been an activist in the Pakistani women’s movement since the early 1990s. A lawyer by profession, she has worked with a number of NGOs on issues of violence against women and children, and on women’s empowerment programs, and is an official advisor for Global Fund for Women. She served one of the country’s leading civil society organizations for women’s rights, Aurat Foundation, as Resident Director from May 1993-May 2008. She’s a leader of Noor Education Trust, an organization that runs shelters for girls escaping child, early, and forced marriage, while also providing legal, medical, and psychosocial services; workshops on gender-based violence and human rights; and more. Most recently, Rukhshanda was head of UN Women Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa/Federally Administered Tribal Areas division. She continues to be a passionate advocate for ending child, early, and forced marriages.


Spotlight on the issue

Gender justice activists are working to end child, early, and forced marriage and make sure all girls have the opportunity to embrace their potential—not just in Pakistan but around the world. Meet some of Global Fund for Women’s grassroots grantee partners who are leaders in the movement to end early marriage.

Facts & Figures

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