Reason why Uganda, Niger, others can't Stop Child Marriage



Child marriage is a serious problem in the country of Uganda, according to current findings by Plan Inter
national. With 38% of girls being married before the age of 18, and 13.5% before the age of 15, the country has the Fifth highest rate of child marriage in the World.

Coupling with a campaign to increase the legal age of marriage to 18 for boys and girls in the Uganda, the report highlights several drivers of child marriage in the country and why it wouldn't be stopped.

1. CHILD MARRIAGE IS LEGAL

According to the Civil Code, the legal minimum age for marriage is 18 years for men and for women. However, there are exceptions. Boys can marry from the age of 16 and girls from the age of 15 with permission from a judge. Plan International is calling on Congress to increase the age of marriage to 18 for all, without exceptions.

2. INFORMAL UNIONS ARE COMMON

Child marriage usually happens outside of the law as “informal unions”. Civil or religious marriages are seen as costly and cumbersome, and it is common for girls to move in to adult men’s homes and become their wives.

These informal unions are not only more difficult to report, but they also leave girls vulnerable to abuse and with little legal protection against their husbands.

3. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS HIGHLY PREVALENT

Some girls see marriage as a way out of violent family homes, only to be abused by their husbands. Girls also chose to leave home early because of what they saw as a lack of emotional involvement from their parents. So when they can't handle such, they find way and leave via marriage

4. GIRLS HAVE SEX WITH OLDER MEN AT AN EARLY AGE

Over 80% of girls said they preferred men that were five years older, as they associated their age with greater life experience, responsibility, sexual experience and economic independence.

On the other hand, 39% of men said they preferred girls under the age of 18 because they found them more “obedient” and “adaptable”.

5. PREGNANT GIRLS ARE PUSHED TO MARRY

Early sexual activity, when combined with lack of sexual education or reproductive health services, and lack of self-control leads to unwanted teenage pregnancies. Roughly 14% of girls in the study had had one or two pregnancies between the ages of 14 and 17.

Many girls who had become pregnant had being subjected the social and family pressure to marry. Once married, girls are likely to become pregnant again due to the lack of family planning services. 70% of married girls in the study were pregnant at the time of the interview.

6. GIRLS SEE MARRIAGE AS LIBERTY ATTAINMENT

Girls in the Africa and uganda grow up learning that marriage and motherhood is how you gain respect in society. They expect to marry, and believe that their role is to serve their husbands. Many girls saw marriage as a form of Freedom and a way into adulthood.

7. OPPORTUNITY TO ESCAPE POVERTY

Finally, families and girls themselves reported seeing marriage as an “exit strategy”, a way out of poverty by rushing to marry an older and "already-made" man.

Together, these factors create a situations where child marriage and violence against women are accepted as part of the social fabric, their negative effects and consequences rarely discussed.

Increasing the age of marriage to 18 without exception will be a first step towards tackling child marriage in the Dominican Republic. Read Plan International’s report (in Spanish)

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