Children need to go through three important stages to become adults.
INFANCY (0-3 YEARS)
The first stage of a child’s life is infancy. Infancy begins at birth and continues till children are around 3 years old.
CHILDHOOD (4-12 YEARS)
Childhood is the stage just after infancy that relates to a child’s early years. Children are still considered biologically young in these years. In fact, they are usually also considered socially undeveloped too. It is important during this stage for children to start learning about the world and how to behave in it. A child’s brain is a sponge in this period. Children look to those people around them as examples to teach them. Every child’s brain is still developing in this period and it is extremely important for them to begin learning the difference between right and wrong.
ADOLESCENCE (13-17 YEARS)
Adolescence is when a child begins developing into an adult. This is a period of transition and is also when children are the most vulnerable. Physical and emotional development of a child takes place here.
YOUNG ADULTHOOD (18+ YEARS)
This stage is where a child’s body is ready for adulthood. Children’s brains and bodies have mostly finished developing here. A young adult is much more equipped to handle the physical and emotional stress that comes with marriage and children.
THE IMPORTANCE OF WAITING FOR A GIRL TO BECOME A WOMAN
The number of babies and mothers that die during childbirth decreases when the mother’s body is grown up and ready for childbirth. Girls that give birth before their bodies are ready are less likely in the future to have healthy babies.
Currently, Africa has the highest number of maternal deaths in the world. Many of these deaths are young girls who die when giving birth because their bodies were not ready yet.
Women also spend more time than men with their children. Women are the world’s first educators because they bring new life. Women educate children and children are the future. Also, women that have a secondary school education are more likely to find work to support their families. This would mean that 12 million more children could be saved from malnutrition. Improving gender equality leads to higher productivity levels.
EDUCATED WOMEN EARN MORE MONEY
When girls are forced to get married and have children early, their families miss out on the higher wages an educated girl would get. Every year a girl can continue attending primary and secondary school the wage she eventually earns goes up by 10-20 percent. This suggests that girls who are encouraged to marry only after completing school can better support themselves and their families.
In Malawi 50 percent of young girls are forced to get married when their bodies and brains are still too small. Malawi is home to 6.8 million children, half of which are girls. That is at least 1.5 million girls who cannot learn because they have to take care of children. If those 1.5 million girls were encouraged to attend primary and secondary school, they would bring huge economic growth.