Child marriage around the world:

Indonesia

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 15
n/a
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 18
14%

* References

* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old.

* According to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2016.

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 15
n/a
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 18
14%

* References

* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old.

* According to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2016.

An estimated one in every seven girls in Indonesia is married before the age of 18 [1]. However, recent studies suggest that child marriage rates may have been underestimated, with rates as high as 35% in some regions [2].

Indonesia is among the ten countries with the highest absolute numbers of child brides: 1,408,000 women aged 20 to 24 were married before the age of 18 [3]

Drivers

Child marriage in Indonesia occurs more frequently in rural areas. For instance, West Sulawesi experiences the highest rates of child marriage before the age of 15, where the practice is a deeply entrenched cultural tradition [4].

There is an overwhelming sense of silence around child marriage in the region. Communities accept it as part of the social fabric; they rarely talk about its effects and consequences.

The practice of child marriage in Indonesia is largely driven by socioeconomic factors surrounding girls, including poverty, economic dependency, financial incentives and dowry practices, as well as a lack of access to education and health services.

Research from Plan found that one of the key drivers of child marriage in Indonesia is rigid gender norms [5]. Child marriage is associated with the normalization of male violence against women and girls as marriage is frequently viewed as a remedy for the stigma associated with female sexual experience outside of marriage, including in the context of sexual abuse.

Legal age

According to the 1974 Marriage Law, girls can marry from the age of 16, while boys can only marry at age 19 with parental permission.

Recent developments

In 2014, a grassroots movement called Koalisi +18 campaigned to increase minimum age of marriage to 18 without exception. In June 2015, however, the Constitutional Court upheld the current Indonesian marriage law of 1974. This case spurred a national dialogue around child marriage in the country where millions of girls continue to marry as children.

Sources

[1] UNICEF, State of the World’s Children, 2016.

[2] UNICEF, Child marriage in Indonesia: Progress on pause, 2016.

[3] UNICEF, State of the World’s Children, 2016.

[4] Plan International, Getting The Evidence: Asia Child Marriage Initiative, 2015.

[5] Plan International, Coram International, Getting the Evidence: Asia Child Marriage Initiative Summary Report, 2015.