This note summarizes the key findings of research on girls' education and early marriage in West and Central African countries.
Despite substantial progress over the last two decades, girls still have on average lower levels of educational attainment than boys in West and Central Africa. This is in part because many girls in the region are married while still children, often before they may be physically and emotionally ready to become wives and mothers. Educating girls and ending child marriage is essential for girls and young women to have agency, not only as wives and mothers, but also beyond those roles. It is also essential to enable countries to reach their full development potential. Low educational attainment and child marriage both affect girls’ life trajectories in profound ways. Girls marrying or dropping out of school early are more likely
to experience poor health, have children at younger ages and more children over their lifetime, and earn less in adulthood.