Emma Watson severely undercounts number of child marriages in UN speech

UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson walks next to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, while they attend the HeForShe campaign launch at the United Nations on September 20, 2014. (Getty Images)
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson walks next to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, while they attend the HeForShe campaign launch at the United Nations on September 20, 2014. (Getty Images)

Every year around the world, millions of girls under the age of 18 get married, often without having any say in the decision. While this isn’t a bad deal in every instance, the statistics raise many red flags. 

In too many cases, the move comes at the price of a girl’s health, education and personal safety. 

The issue shows up in many pleas to improve the lot of women worldwide and was part of an impassioned speech at the United Nations by Harry Potter actress Emma Watson. Watson, who carries the title Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, noted in a Sept 20 speech that if nothing is done, "15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children." 

As we began checking that statement, we quickly figured out that Watson's wording was garbled. Read the full fact-check here.