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Efforts intensify to curtail child marriage in the US

In this Feb. 2, 2016 photo, Naila Amin, 26, holds a book from one of the classes she is taking at Nassau Community College in Garden City, N.Y. Amin, who was forced into marriage at the age of 15 to a 28-year-old cousin in Pakistan who beat and mistreated her, aspires to become a social worker and open a group home for girls trying to avoid or recover from forced marriages. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

As an American female college student, I am eternally grateful that I was born in this country with the opportunities that come with it. I can’t help but think of the millions of girls around the world who aren’t allowed those opportunities because of where or to whom they were born.

There’s a bill in Congress right now that can singlehandedly change that. This bill, called the “Keeping Girls in School Act,” plans to support and implement innovative strategies to combat barriers against female education globally.

Some of these barriers include child marriage, early motherhood and female genital mutilation. There’s also been an uptick in targeted terrorism against girls’ schools and gendered religious/ethnic discrimination.

Beyond these individual-level problems, which continued female education would address, studies show that supporting female education globally could actually help in this country. Better-educated women are less likely to support terrorism and militant groups in their community.

This is why I’m calling Missouri's senators, Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley, to support this bill. If you want to tell them to get behind global female education, call their offices and tell them to co-sponsor the Keeping Girls in School Act. And ask our St. Louis congressman, Rep. William Lacy Clay, to support the bill in the House.

Daria Locher • Clayton