Jacqueline Patel ‘21 Commission on the Status of Women

Jacqueline Patel ‘21
Commission on the Status of Women



Jacqueline Patel

Hometown: I am from Denver, Colorado.
Favorite thing to do on the weekend: I love spending time with my friends, running, and exploring Boston.
Cats or dogs? I’m definitely a cat person, but also love all dogs that I meet.
Model UN experience: I served as the USG of Administration for WordMUN 2019 in Madrid which was my first MUN conference ever.
Favorite part about Harvard: I love the people. I meet new people every week who do extraordinary things. I love talking to them about their experiences and getting to know their journey to Harvard—because every story is different.

Topic: Child Marriages

Each year, over 12 million young girls are married before their eighteenth birthday. The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund classifies these occurrences as child marriages and argues that once married, a girl’s health, education, and freedom are at great risk. Child marriages, which include both formal ceremonies and informal living arrangements, occur most prominently in South Asia. However, this is a practice that affects the entire globe both economically and from a social standpoint. Social norms in place encourage the practice of child marriages in many places. Though, economic dynamics in communities will also tend to lead to the practice. A combination of the social and financial motivations are the main forces leading to the high rate of child marriages across the globe.

Global human rights organizations and local NGOs including UNICEF works to increase saliency of this issue through raising global awareness while also working to strength legislation to prevent the practice from occurring. Combatting child marriage for females has the potential reduce the prevalent gender inequality that exists in places where child marriages is widespread. How does one work to reduce the exploitation of young girls while also respecting and maintaining the cultural boundaries and traditions that may exist? Are there economic incentives possible that could lead to a reduction in child marriages? Should there be an international ban on these practices, or should local governments have the autonomy to limit the behavior has deemed necessary without the interference of global leaders?