The girls stand confidently and proudly as they walk out of the training centre.
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 15
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 18
*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, 2016)
15% of girls across East Asia and the Pacific are married before the age of 18.
Prevalence varies across the region, with rates of child marriage as high as 21% in Vanuatu and to 11% in Vietnam. Data gaps exist, in particular in the Pacific Islands where child marriage often happens in rural areas under local customs.
Causes of child marriage in the region are complex and diverse, from rigid gender and cultural beliefs about the role and value of girls and women, to high poverty rates and a lack of economic opportunities.
Humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters can also cause families to turn to child marriage as a coping mechanism in times of hardship.
- UNICEF, State of the World’s Children 2016: A fair chance for every child. Table 9: child protection, 2015.
- Just Married, Just a child: Child Marriage in the Indo-Pacific Region. Plan Australia (2014).
- Ending Child Marriage: Progress and Prospects. UNICEF (2014).