Photo credit: Abbie Trayler Smith Panos | DFID
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)
Little is known about child marriage in Iraq. According to UNICEF, approximately 1 in 5 girls are married before the age of 18.
Poverty, conflict and strict religious and social traditions are drivers of child marriage in Iraq. Shari’a law, which dominates the realm of family law, provides limited protection for girls and women.
The increased financial hardship in Iraq has meant that the number of child brides has increased. According to the Iraqi government, in 1997, 15% of marriages involved women under 18. This number jumped to more than 20% in 2012, with almost 5% married by the age of 15.
Legal age of marriage
The legal age of marriage is 18 for both girls and boys, but a girl can marry at the age of 15 with parental consent.
Initiatives to end child marriage
Due to the political instability, very little is known about civil society efforts to end child marriage at the community level, although there are some active organisations based in Iraqi-Kurdish controlled cities.
UNICEF continues to work in refugee camps on the issue of child marriage.
Members In Iraq
- UNICEF, State of the World’s Children, 2016
- Gordon Brown, Child marriage could become law in Iraq this week, but it’s a global scourge, 29 April 2014