Written by Kathleen Wilson, UGA sophomore and Carl Vinson Institute of Government Student Fellow. She is a double major in economic and international affairs with minors in French and Arabic.
This semester, I am one of four Vinson Institute Fellows at UGA's Carl Vinson Institute of Government. I'm working in the Institute's International Center with Director Rusty Brooks. As soon as I met Dr. Brooks, I was impressed with his vast experience in international policy and relations. He is very supportive of my interest in international women's rights policy and has encouraged me to pursue research in the areas that most interest me. Having spent last semester researching female literacy policy in Afghanistan, I have decided to expand my knowledge of international women's rights policy and examine child marriages in refugee camps during my semester in the Vinson Institute Fellows Program.
Why? It has been well-demonstrated that child marriages are physically, intellectually and emotionally harmful to the well-being of child brides. In refugee camps, without many medical facilities or economic opportunities, children forced into marriages face even larger risks for these negative effects of child marriages. Yet, child marriages often occur at higher rates within refugee camps because parents view marriage as one of the only ways to provide for their children's future. Thus, parents who think they are doing what is best for their children are actually subjecting them to more potential harm. Through my research this semester, I will be analyzing child marriages in refugee camps and exploring different policies that can help decrease these marriages. It is my goal to establish a framework that will help protect these victims of child marriages in refugee camps and increase their future opportunities.