"Child marriage remains a widely ignored violation of the health and development rights of girls and young women” (IPPF, 2006). Many reasons are given by parents and guardians to justify child marriage. Economic reasons often underpin these decisions which are directly linked to poverty and the lack of economic opportunities for girls in rural areas. Girls are either seen as an economic burden or valued as capital for their exchange value in terms of goods, money or livestock. A combination of cultural, traditional, and religious arguments are examples utilized to justify child marriage. The fear and stigma attached to premarital sex and bearing children outside marriage, and the associated family “honor,” are often seen as valid reasons for the actions that families take. Finally, many parents tend to curtail the education of their girls and marry them off, due to fear of the high level of sexual violence and abuse encountered en route to, and even at, school.
The Economic Impacts of Child Marriage project is a collaborative effort by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and the World Bank, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, and additional support from the Global Partnership for Education.
The brief summarizes results from an analysis of the impacts of child marriage on women’s work (specifically, labor force participation and type of work held), earnings and productivity and household welfare. It also estimates selected economic costs of these impacts.
This brief summarizes results from an analysis of the impacts of child marriage on a few selected health outcomes, specifically early childbirths, maternal mortality and intimate partner violence. It does not include analyses for other aspects of women’s health that are likely to be affected by child marriage to various extents, such as maternal morbidity, obstetric fistula, female genital mutilation/cutting, sexually-transmitted infections (including HIV and AIDS) and psychological well-being.
This brief summarizes results from an analysis on the impacts of child marriage on women’s decision-making ability within the household, land ownership, knowledge of HIV/AIDS, and birth registrations. While these topics are all related to agency, it should be emphasized that they do not together provide a comprehensive measure of agency, which is beyond the scope of this study.
In this brief, we summarize results from an analysis of the impacts of child marriage on educational attainment for girls and their children and document the extent to which keeping girls in school could help end child marriage.
This brief summarizes results from an analysis of the impacts of child marriage on two health outcomes - under-five mortality and stunting - for young children. For the purposes of this brief, we focus on the impact of child marriage through early childbirths, as this is the mechanism through which child health and nutrition outcomes are most directly affected. There is a close correlation between child marriage and early childbirths in most countries - at a global level, six out of seven early childbirths take place within the context of child marriage. The brief does not include analyses for other aspects of child health that may also be affected by child marriage, nor does it consider costs that may be incurred by health systems as a result of poor child health.
The international community is increasingly aware of the negative impacts of child marriage on a wide range of development outcomes. Ending child marriage is now part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet investments to end the practice remain limited across the globe and more could be done. In order to inspire greater commitments towards ending child marriage, this study demonstrates the negative impacts of the practice and their associated economic costs. The study looks at five domains of impacts: (i) fertility and population growth; (ii) health, nutrition, and violence; (iii) educational attainment and learning; (iv) labor force participation and earnings; and (v) participation, decision-making, and investments. Economic costs associated with the impacts are estimated for several of the impacts. When taken together across countries, the costs of child marriage are very high. They suggest that investing to end child marriage is not only the right thing to do, but also makes sense economically.
FIFTEEN-year-old child bride Babli Akter’s fate took a horrible turn when she was allegedly killed by her husband Rashedul and her in laws on January 27 this year as her family could not pay the Tk 3 lakh as dowry (Manabzamin, January 28, 2017). Dowry is nothing more than marital extortion. Dowry marriage mostly consists of greed, humiliation and violence. Many women every year in Bangladesh are being killed, abused and even commit suicide simply due to the pervasive illegal practice of dowry related violence. According to Odhikar’s statistics, between January 2001 and January 2017, about 3,090 women were allegedly killed, 2064 were abused and 220 committed suicide because of dowry. This statistics shows just the tip of the iceberg as a lot of dowry related violence is kept in confidence to retain the ‘honour’ of the family. If there were no giving or taking of dowry, there would not be any dowry related violence. Dowry is illegal in Bangladesh under the Dowry Prohibition Act 1980 and Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain 2000 (amended 2003). However, it still continues.
The political turmoil that has swept Yemen since early 2011 has overshadowed the plight of child brides such as Reem, as thousands of protesters took to the streets to demand the end of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year rule, and security forces responded with excessive and deadly force. But, while the focus of attention both inside and outside of Yemen is understandably the political future of the country, following President Saleh’s agreement in November to cede power before elections in February, child marriages and other discrimination against women and girls in Yemen continue unabated. And while the president’s resignation topped the list of most protestors’ demand, many young demonstrators especially are calling for a wide range of reforms, including measures to guarantee equality between women and men, and an end to child marriage.