Charlotte Street Partners



Girls just want to have fundamental rights

Written by  Li-Ann Chin, associate 
Edited by Adam Shaw, associate partner
9 March 2021

Good morning,

In the 1940s, following the Japanese invasion of Malaya, my paternal grandmother was given away at the tender age of nine to my grandfather, a man two decades her senior. Her family were attempting to flee the war. My grandmother, they reasoned, would be much safer under the protection of another man.

Child marriage, albeit a complex issue, is rooted in patriarchal structures and gender inequality. In many communities where child marriage is practised, girls are not valued as highly as boys and often viewed as a burden to their family. Marrying a girl off at a young age is seen as a way to ease economic hardship by transferring the ‘burden’ to the husband’s family.

It is also a practice closely linked to poverty. More than half of girls from the poorest households in developing countries are married as children. In families with limited resources, early marriage is believed to be the solution for a better future. And yet, child brides often remain poor, as they are less likely to receive the education needed to break the poverty trap.

Worryingly, the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated some of the main drivers of early marriage – school closures, economic stress and parental deaths. A Unicef report published yesterday estimates that an additional 10 million child marriages may occur in the next decade. Rising poverty levels caused by a widespread loss of livelihoods are likely to push many families to marry off their daughters early. In Asia, non-profit organisations are reporting that a spike in forced unions has already begun.

In celebrating International Women’s Day, the onus lies on us, the privileged few, to shed light on a plight faced by so many others across the globe. For change to happen, this is a topic that needs to feature more prominently on international and national development agendas. The values and norms which support the practice of child marriage will need to shift. Progress, while difficult, is possible. I am proof of that.


Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is effective at combating the Brazilian variant of Covid-19, which spreads more quickly than other types of coronavirus. Pfizer is reportedly planning to create a version of the jab specifically designed to combat the variant. 
In a Downing Street conference, Boris Johnson ruled out bringing forward the roadmap out of lockdown, citing the need for a “cautious and irreversible approach”. He has also acknowledged that the return of children to school will inevitably increase the risk of a rise in infection rates.
Prince Harry stressed off-camera that it was not the Queen or Prince Phillip who allegedly expressed concern about the skin colour of Archie Mountbatten-Windsor prior to his birth, according to Oprah Winfrey. In an interview with Winfrey, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex claimed they fled Britain to Canada partly because of the racism Meghan faced when she was pregnant.

Business and economy

Data from Refinitiv indicates that dealmaking within China is running at record pace, with the value of domestic mergers and acquisitions this year totalling $77.5bn – almost three times the level in the same period for 2020. Technology and logistics deals have been particularly dominant due to the boom in ecommerce during the pandemic. (£)
Greensill Capital, a company specialising in supply-chain finance, has filed for insolvency in the UK, stating that it was experiencing “severe financial distress”. The company was thrown into crisis last week after Tokio Marine, its main insurer, refused to renew a $4.6bn contract and Credit Suisse froze $10bn of funds linked to the firm.  
The Scottish government has secured vital support from the Greens and Liberal Democrats that will ensure its budget plans for the next financial year are approved in parliament today. The agreement with the Greens will see extra cash channelled towards free school meals, public sector pay and public transport. The Lib Dems secured additional funding for education, mental health and local government.
Starling Bank has reportedly raised £272m to fund its consumer lending business and back its long-planned European expansion. The challenger bank confirmed it was planning for an initial public offering “at the very, very earliest at the end of 2022”. The latest funding round would value the company at £1.1bn. (£)

Columns of note

Following the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, Kate Williams highlights in The Guardian how the shocking allegations  are painfully evocative of the experiences of Princess Diana and that Britain has learned nothing from how she was treated.
Yesterday marked a rather momentous occasion, as pupils across England returned to schools and parents breathed a collective sigh of relief. In her piece for The Spectator, Isabel Hardman questions whether the reopening of schools will throw a wrench into Boris Johnson’s lockdown plans.

Cartoon source: The Telegraph


What happened yesterday?

Stocks in London closed in positive territory on Monday, as the FTSE 100 ended the session up 1.34% at 6,719.13 and the FTSE 250 rose 1.19% to 21.210.22.
Sterling fell 0.21% against the dollar at $1.3812 but gained 0.36% on the euro to €1.1657.
Across the Atlantic, it was a mixed picture for Wall Street stocks after the US senate passed Joe Biden’s historic $1.9trn Covid relief bill over the weekend. At its close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.97% to 31,802.44, while the S&P 500 was 0.54% weaker at 3,821.35. The Nasdaq Composite experienced a dip of 2.41% to finish at 12,609.19.
In company news
Education group Pearson ended firmly in the green, up by 6.42% after it maintained its dividend as it delivered lower annual profits offset by a Covid-19 related rise in online learning.
BT Group fell 2.39% after the company denied allegations that former chairman Jan du Plessis was forced out last week for holding up the pace of strategic decisions.
HSBC, Lloyds and Barclays were up 4.09%, 4.25% and 3.7% respectively.

What’s happening today?

Arix Bioscience
Cairn Energy
Capital & Counties
Capital & Regional
Foresight Solar
Gamesys Group
Lsl Prop
Marshall Motor
Midwich Grp
RPS Group
Standard Life Aberdeen
Ultra Electronics
Vaalco Energy

Caretech Hldg
Ecofin Global

Abingdon Healt.
Dfs Furn
Orchard Funding

Q4 Results
Vaalco Energy

UK economic announcements
(00:01) Retail Sales

Int. economic announcements
(07:00) Balance of Trade (GER)
(10:00) Gross Domestic Product (EU)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18. That is 23 girls every minute and nearly one every three seconds. (Source: Girls Not Brides)

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions
Treasury (including topical questions)
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Landfill Sites (Odorous Emissions) – Aaron Bell
Conclusion of the budget debate

House of Lords 

Oral questions
Non-Domestic Rating (Lists) (No. 2) Bill – third reading – Lord Greenhalgh
Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill – committee stage (day 1) – Baroness Goldie

Scottish Parliament 

Ministerial statement: COVID-19
Stage 3 Proceedings: Budget (Scotland) (No. 5) Bill

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