Are you a woman? Are you the parent of a daughter? Are you married to a woman? Do you have a mother? In any of these cases you should read the autobiography I Am Nujood, aged 10, Divorced
This is a difficult book to read, not due to the complexity of the verbiage, but because of the poverty and abuse this child had to endure at the hands of her family. It brings up the abhorrent practice of child marriage. Many little girls as young as eight years old are married without their consent to men often decades older than themselves. They are often imprisoned inside the men’s homes as little more than slaves both sexual and domestic. The reasons for this practice are complex and rooted in the culture in which they occur. Poverty can cause a father to give his child away, but that same father may have multiple wives and his children may number in double digits. He often cannot support them all but gives no thought to birth control. This puts into place a cycle of oppression against women and girls because they are not considered equal to men and in Islamic countries the females must uphold the concept of family honor. A rumor against the honor of a girl or woman may be the motive for an honor killing, even in the United States.
In this book the eponymous young writer exhibits a bravery which is remarkable and praiseworthy. Credit must also be given to the people who helped her because Yemen’s culture can punish the defenseless and those who seek to defend them. I sincerely hope that Nujood chooses to continue her education and become a lawyer like her champion, Shada Nasr, who represented her in her divorce hearing. But Nujood is not alone. Lots of other children are forced into marriage. One quarter of Yemeni brides are aged 15 or less. It seems to me that supporting the education of women and female children in places where they are abused because they are female, is one of the most important things that can be done to bring about world peace and and end over-population.