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Child marriage around the world:
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Child marriage around the world:

Malawi

Conflicting legislation makes the minimum age for marriage ambiguous in Malawi. The constitution sets 18 as the minimum age without consent, and persons between 15 and 18 may be married with parental consent.  The constitution also maintains that the state is obliged to ‘discourage’ marriages where either party is under the age of 15[i]. This is in conflict with the common law Marriage Act, which states 21 as the minimum age for marriage[ii].

A key challenge to eradicating child marriage in Malawi is entrenched attitudes that accept the practice[iii]. Child marriage is also closely linked to poverty, as often in rural areas girls will be married off very young in order to improve a family’s financial status. In the northern part of Malawi, kupimbira, or giving a young daughter in marriage as repayment for a debt, is practiced[iv].

 



[i] United Nations Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Sixth periodic report of States parties, Malawi, CEDAW/C/MWI/6, Geneva, 2008, pg.10

[ii] United Nations Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Sixth periodic report of States parties, Malawi, CEDAW/C/MWI/6, Geneva, 2008, pg. 48.

[iii] Women and Law in Southern Africa (2009) p.10

[iv] United Nations Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Sixth periodic report of States parties, Malawi, CEDAW/C/MWI/6, Geneva, 2008, pg. 48.

UNICEF 2014 % Married by 15

12

UNICEF 2014 % Married by 18

50

*Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2013)


International Ranking 2012*

9

*According to stats from UNICEF state of the children