Visit our new interactive Atlas!

Guyana

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
4%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
30%

* 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 (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
4%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
30%

* 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 (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)

What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?

30% of girls in Guyana are married before their 18th birthday and 4% are married before the age of 15.

Child marriage is particularly prevalent among Amerindian communities, and in Upper Takutu-Upper Esequibo and Potaro-Siparuni.

Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that women and girls are somehow inferior to men and boys. There is limited information on child marriage in Guyana, but available studies show that it is largely driven by:

  • Level of education: 46% of women with no education were married as children, compared to only 12% who had completed higher education.
  • Poverty: 38% of women in Guyana’s poorest households were married before the age of 18, compared to 21% from the richest households.

What has this country committed to?

Guyana has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Guyana ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1980, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

During its 2015 Universal Periodic Review, Guyana considered recommendations related to child marriage to already be in the process of implementation, including ensuring criminalisation of the practice and carrying out awareness-raising among women about their rights.

What is the government doing to address this at the national level?

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Marriage Act 1990 the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. However if a girl under 16 years becomes pregnant or has a child, she may apply by petition to a Judge of the High Court, for permission to be married to the father of her child, as long as the father is at least 16 years old.

Source

Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Public Health and UNICEF, Guyana Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2014, 2015, (accessed May 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Guyana, 2015, p.20, (accessed May 2018)

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, (accessed February 2018)

* 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)