2 former child brides just took their country to court — and won.

Finally, a happy story about child marriage.

In Zimbabwe, a country where an estimated 31% of all girls are forced into marriage by the time they turn 18, something unprecedented just happened.

Photo via Jessica Lea/U.K. Department for International Development/Flickr.


Two former child brides led a successful campaign to get child marriage banned.

Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi, who are just teenagers themselves, called on the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe to declare existing child-marriage legislation unconstitutional.

By the time they were 16, both Loveness and Ruvimbo were wives. Loveness had two kids by the time she turned 18 — an age when many teens are trying to finish high school and live that awkward teenage life. Having to drop out of school and grow up too fast, both girls knew there was more out there for them; it was just now out of their reach.

"Raising a child when you are a child yourself is hard," Loveness told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "I should be going to school."

Thankfully, she wasn't the only one with that thought. The girls and their campaign against child marriage were backed by the human rights group ROOTS and legal think tank Veritas.

And what a success effort it was: More girls will get to stay in school and have a say in their own futures now. The cycle of poverty will lessen, and girls' health outcomes will improve.

After months of deliberation, the court ruled in the girls' favor on Jan. 20, 2016.

People in Zimbabwe will no longer be allowed to enter into any marriage, including customary law unions, before they turn 18 — regardless of their gender.

This decision will help save the futures of thousands of girls. Photo via SuSanA Secretariat/Flickr.

It's a remarkable moment led by two teens who've experienced the consequences of child marriage firsthand.

"I'm delighted," Beatrice Savadye from ROOTS declared. "This is a milestone in the campaign to end this scourge in society."

If change happened because these girls spoke out, imagine what this can mean for girls in other countries where child marriage takes place.

This decision isn't just a big deal for Zimbabwe — it sets a standard for other African countries and for the rest of the world.

Real talk: Every day, an additional 39,000 young girls worldwide find themselves forced into marriage. CARE's report "Vows of Poverty" takes a close look at the 26 countries where girls are more likely to walk down the aisle than go to high school.

It's sobering but encouraging to see that with Loveness and Ruvimbo's victory in Zimbabwe, there are signs that the tide is beginning to shift.

Two children who will have a better future thanks to Loveness and Ruvimbo's victory. Photo via John Mitchell/Flickr.

Countries like Guatemala and Malawi have recently raised the minimum age for marriage, and Nepal and Zambia are developing national action plans to help girls avoid the practice. But the ultimate hurdle in any country is changing the cultural attitudes and perceptions that surround child marriage — and that takes time.

Regardless, Zimbabwe is taking a big step forward by changing its outdated law. And what may just be the best part about it?

It's because two teens went up against their government and ... won.

THAT is kickass and a great reminder that your voice matters no matter where you live.

Use it.

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Women around the world are constantly bombarded by traditional and outdated societal expectations when it comes to how they live their lives: meet a man, get married, buy a home, have kids.

Many of these pressures often come from within their own families and friend circles, which can be a source of tension and disconnect in their lives.

Global skincare brand SK-II created a new campaign exploring these expectations from the perspective of four women in four different countries whose timelines vary dramatically from what their mothers, grandmothers, or close friends envision for them.

SK-II had Katie Couric meet with these women and their loved ones to discuss the evolving and controversial topic of marriage pressure and societal expectations.

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"What happens when dreams clash with expectations? We're all supposed to hit certain milestones: a degree, marriage, a family," Couric said before diving into conversation with the "young women who are defining their own lives while navigating the expectations of the ones who love them most."

Maluca, a musician in New York, explains that she comes from an immigrant family, which comes with the expectation that she should live the "American Dream."

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Chun Xia, an award-winning Chinese actress who's outspoken about empowering other young women in China, said people question her marital status regularly.

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In South Korea, Nara, a queer-identifying artist, believes her generation should have a choice in everything they do, but her mother has a different plan in mind.

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"I just thought she would have a job and meet a man to get married in her early 30s," Nara's mom said.

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Her mother, however, still envisions a different life for her daughter. "Deep in my heart, I hope she will change her mind one day," she said.

Maina, a 27-year-old Japanese woman, explains that in her home country, those who aren't married by the time they're 25 to 30, are often referred to as "unsold goods."

Her mom is worried about her daughter not being able to find a boyfriend because she isn't "conventional."

"I really want her to find the right man and get married, to be seen as marriage material," she said.

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SK-II

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The video ends with the tagline: "Forge your own path and choose the life you want; Draw your own timeline."

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