Tags: international day of the girl child | emma watson

International Day of the Girl Child Gets Some Emma Watson Magic

Image: International Day of the Girl Child Gets Some Emma Watson Magic

U.N. Women's Goodwill Ambassador, actress Emma Watson, attends a news conference to launch of the campaign HeForShe at the United Nations Headquarters on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 20, 2016. (Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 11 Oct 2016 02:04 PM

The day before International Day of the Girl Child, which is celebrated Tuesday, "Harry Potter" actress and activist Emma Watson was in Malawi to support women and girls by condemning child marriage.

Watson, 26, best known for starring in the boy wizard movie franchise, played the role of goodwill ambassador for United Nations Women and called for the education of girls and improving their future, Reuters reported.

Malawi raised the minimum age for marriage to 18 in 2015 and had been working with the U.N. Women group and traditional chiefs in Malawi to change local practices.

"Meeting with young girls, who like many in their country, are struggling with poverty and were pressured into early marriage, depriving them of their education in the process, made me realize just how important it is for women to be able to make their own choices," Watson said in a UN statement Monday.

"It's so encouraging to see how such a harmful practice can be stopped when communities work together to pass laws, and then turn those laws into reality," Watson continued.

The United Nations Women website pointed to statistics affecting girls worldwide, such as one in seven girls aged 15 to 19 are currently married or in union. The group also says in developing countries, one in every three girls is married before reaching age 18.

The website added that girls who are married early often face human rights abuses, are more vulnerable to physical and sexual violence, and are often pulled out of school to take on domestic responsibilities.

Watson met with Chief Kachindamoto, a prominent Malawi leader fighting to end child marriages.

"(Chief Kachindamoto) has implemented the annulment of so many child marriages and restored the future of these girls," Watson said, according to the U.N. "With the help and collaboration of her local chiefs, mothers' group and religious leaders, she has managed to annul almost 1,500 child marriages, sending the girls back to school. Because of bold and brave leadership like this, things may start to change."

The U.N. designated Oct. 11 as International Day of the Girl Child annually in an effort to bring attention to programs, policies, and services to respond to the specific needs of girls.

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The day before International Day of the Girl Child, which is celebrated Tuesday, "Harry Potter" actress and activist Emma Watson was in Malawi to support women and girls by condemning child marriage.
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Tuesday, 11 Oct 2016 02:04 PM
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