President Susanne von Bassewitz addresses Zonta's work to End Child Marriage at UN General Assembly

Worldwide, almost 650 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday and an estimated 280 million more girls are at risk of becoming brides. If current trends continue, the number of girls and women married as children will reach nearly 1 billion by 2030.

Today, in support of ending child marriage, Zonta International President Susanne von Bassewitz made a statement at a high-level side event on eliminating child marriage in Africa at the United Nations General Assembly. The event, organized by the permanent missions of Canada and Zambia to the United Nations, UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women, engaged African Heads of State and Governments in a dialogue on child, early and forced marriage with the goal of renewing commitments to implement national strategies to end child, early and forced marriage.

Susanne addressed Zonta International’s latest work in ending child marriage through a new collaborative project with UNICEF and UNFPA, which builds upon Zonta’s efforts to end violence against women through its Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women global campaign.

The decision to focus on Ending Child Marriage comes from Zonta’s experience with UNFPA’s Ending Child Marriage project in Niger and the fact that UNICEF and UNFPA had joined forces with a long-term commitment to address the issue globally. In the next two years, Zonta will allocate an additional 2 million US Dollars to ending child marriage – the largest annual contribution Zonta has made to a project to date.

By joining this global partnership, Zonta aims at contributing a lot more than funding: to raise the voice of opinion leaders in order to secure the human rights of millions of vulnerable girls throughout the world.

Learn more about how Zonta is focused on stopping this practice at Ending Child Marriage and see how Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women is amplifying Zonta’s message of empowerment at

Click here to watch a recording of the meeting: Accelerating Efforts to Eliminate Child Marriage in Africa.