"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.
Child marriage is a major problem in Yemen, where according to UN and Yemeni government data from 2006, 52 percent of girls are married – often to much older men – before age 18, and 14 percent before 15. If the girls don’t want to marry, their families generally force them. Girls who marry often drop out of school, are more likely to die in childbirth, and face a higher risk of physical and sexual abuse than women who marry at 18 or later. Until now, Yemen has been one of the few countries in the region without any minimum age for marriage.
This study aims to contribute to the paucity of information that exists on forced marriage within the United States by presenting findings from a multi-method research study that includes an analysis of the following: 1) 524 surveys with students, domestic violence professionals and refugee service providers; 2) 52 case reviews of suspected and confirmed cases of forced marriage; and, 3) 22 interviews with frontline responders. This study is among a handful of studies within the United States that aim to provide information on the responses, remedies, and protections that are available for victims of forced marriage. This paper is the first to present findings from a group of college students on forced marriage, and the forms of abuse they have witnessed as a result of forced marriage; simultaneously this is also one of the first studies that presents findings from case reviews for 52 reported and suspected cases of forced marriage. Further this paper documents the experiences and recommendations of frontline responders, scholars, activists, and survivors for improving responses to forced marriage. Overall our findings are sobering and highlight the numerous challenges victims, their support networks, and direct service providers face in seeking remedies, protection, and adequate responses against forced marriage.
To view this publication, click the first link, titled "A Closer Look At Forced And Early Marriage In African Immigrant Communities In New York City."
The purpose of this report is to inform emerging policies and practices on early and forced marriage by highlighting the lived experiences of African immigrant and refugee girls and young women in New York City. Sauti Yetu supports policies and practices that are informed by the diversity of experiences in which early and forced marriage occurs across a variety of immigrant communities that protect the health, well-being, and futures of immigrant young women.
The practice of Forced Marriage, where one or both persons involved are coerced through pressure or abuse to consent to a marriage against their will, has been widely addressed in places such as the United Kingdom, but it has only recently begun to enter the framework of women’s rights advocacy work here in the United States. I am an Advocate at Manavi, a New Jersey-based South Asian1 women’s rights organization (SAWO) who has been trained on the issue of forced marriage in the UK. In this position, I have observed that in the US we are only beginning to understand what this practice is, what populations it affects, how prevalent it is and how we can effectively respond to this form of violence against women and girls so as to ensure the safety and well-being of those subjected to it. In June 2010, for the purposes of this paper, I conducted a 10-question web-based survey amongst frontline advocates at 25 SAWOs across the US. The responses I received from the survey, in addition to the cases emerging through Manavi’s advocacy work, con rms that forced marriages are happening in South Asian communities in the US. As frontline, grassroots advocates and activists in the South Asian community, we have witnessed a recent increase in reported cases even though this harmful traditional practice has been happening for many years.
Forced marriage is a serious problem in the United States today, with as many as 3,000 known and suspected cases identified in just two years by respondents of Tahirih Justice Center survey. The fact that potentially thousands of young women and girls from immigrant communities may face forced marriages each year in the United States is alarming and demands attention.