Photo credit: Ky Chung | United Nations
Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
UNICEF 2017 % 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, 2017)
In Cote d’Ivoire, over one out of three girls will be married before their 18th birthday.
The regions with the highest prevalence rates are West (58%), followed by South West (53%) and North West (52%).
However, child marriage may be more prevalent than current estimates indicate. Only half of all births are registered in Cote d’Ivoire, making it difficult to determine the exact age of millions of girls.
Child marriage in Côte d’Ivoire is linked mainly to poverty and lack of education. For example, UNFPA found that 48% of women aged 20-24 with no education and 27% with primary education were married or in union at age 18, compared to only 9% of women with secondary education or higher.
Many families see bride price for their daughters as an important source of income. Girls in the poorest households are 3 times as likely to get married under the age of 18 as girls in the richest households.
Legal age of marriage
The legal age of marriage is 18 for girls and 21 for boys but a girl under 18 or a boy under 21 can marry with parental consent.
In 2014, an unprecedented ruling sentenced a father to a year in prison for attempting to marry his 11-year-old daughter. The man was also fined an amount equivalent to six months of the country’s minimum wage.
Initiatives to end child marriage
On 5 December 2017, Cote d’Ivoire launched the African Union campaign to end child marriage in Africa.
Members In Cote d’Ivoire
- African Movement of Working Children and Youth
- Fédération Estudiantine des Droits de l’Homme (FEDH Afrique)
- Femmes et Enfants en Detresses
- Génération Femmes du Troisième Millénaire (GFM3)
- Les Femmes en Mission pour le Développement (FEMDEV)
- Leve-toi Femme d’Afrique
- ONG Action de Vie
- Réseau Ivoirien pour la Défense des Droits de l’Enfant et de la Femme (RIDDEF)
- SOS Enfance et Jeunesse Africaine Internationale
- UNICEF, State of the World’s Children, 2016
- AllAfrica, Ivory Coasts courts battle in child marriage landmark case, 28 October 2014
- UNICEF, Every child’s birth right: Inequities and trends in birth registration, 2013
- UNFPA, Cote d’Ivoire: Child marriage country profile, 2010