Child Marriage



Child marriage is defined as a formal marriage or an informal union of two people before the age of 18 years or less. Recognised internationally as a human rights violation, this practice is still prevalent and accounts for more than 700 million women worldwide, out of which more than about 250 million were married before age 15. Although boys are also married before the prescribed legal age, girls often appear to be disproportionately affected.

Child marriage amongst girls is most common in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.


 Increased health risks: risk of premature pregnancy and motherhood

 Exposes risk of premature births and complications

Usually leads to effective termination of the child’s education

Often leads to isolation of the children from their peers

Limits the child’s opportunities for career, life skills and vocational advancement

Increases risks of sexual and domestic violence

Reduces prospects of safer sex and hence makes them vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections, including HIV


Percentage of women aged 20 to 49 years who were married or in union before ages 15 and 18, in the 10 countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage.




* Data Source: UNICEF 2014


Social, traditional and cultural conventions Inherent gender discrimination

Poverty and lack of awareness (most prevalent in rural areas)

A strategy for economic survival to reduce economic burden by the girls’ families


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