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Jordan

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
n/a
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
8%

* 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
n/a
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
8%

* 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?

8% of girls in Jordan are married before the age of 18.

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

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys. In Jordan, child marriage is also driven by:

  • Poverty: Some families, particularly those with multiple daughters, marry girls off in order to reduce their perceived economic burden and the number of mouths that require feeding.
  • Traditional attitudes: A 2014 UNICEF study found that a number of Jordanian, Iraqi, Syrian and Palestinian refugees considered child marriage to be acceptable in “compelling circumstances”. These included teenage pregnancy, an abusive home environment and the preservation of cultural traditions.
  • Traditional customs: Some families marry off their daughters to provide them with sutra, a concept rooted in Islam but now widely accepted among faiths in Jordan. Sutra generally means a secure life, protection from hardship and safeguarding for a girl’s future.
  • Religion: Some sheikh and shari’a court judges have expressed acceptance of child marriage, considering it to protect girls from destitution, sexual abuse and honour crimes.
  • Displacement: With increasing political instability in the region, child marriage rates among the Syrian refugee population are dramatically increasing. A 2014 report states that as many as one in four registered marriages in Syrian refugee communities involve a girl under the age of 18. Some families marry off their daughters to protect them from sexual violence. UNICEF reports that “opportunists” pretend to be sheikhs and conduct illicit marriages in Za’atari refugee camp, and some older Saudi and Jordanian men reportedly visit the camp to marry Syrian girls as young as 13. The urgent need for security within these camps has undermined the depth of research that Syrian families normally make into the character and qualifications of potential husbands.
  • Power dynamics: 2012 statistics show that 16% of married Syrian girls aged 15-17 married men who were 15 or more years older than them.
  • Resettlement: Some Syrian girls are married off to enable them to move out of refugee camps and into host communities. Among Palestinian refugees in Jerash camp, marriage to a Jordanian spouse is considered to bring greater rights and opportunities.
  • Media: Some Jordanian parents marry off their daughters because they are concerned that the internet will expose them to undesirable behaviour that may damage future marriage prospects.

What has this country committed to?

Jordan has as committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The government did not provide an update on progress towards this target during its Voluntary National Review at the 2017 High Level Political Forum.

Jordan co-sponsored the 2014 UN General Assembly resolution and the 2013 Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage.

Jordan 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 in 1992, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

During its 2013 Universal Periodic Review, Jordan supported a recommendation to eliminate child marriage and limit the circumstances in which those under 18 years of age can marry.

At the Girl Summit in July 2014, the government signed a charter committing to end child marriage by 2020.

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

In the context of the humanitarian response to the Syrian refugee crisis, child marriage was identified as a priority issue by Jordan’s Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Sub-working group.

In November 2013, an Early Marriage Task Force was established to reduce and mitigate the consequences of child marriage and to establish referral pathways for Syrian and Jordan girls to receive medical, legal and psychosocial support.

The Higher Council for Childhood, Ministry of Social Affairs, is developing a National Strategy on Child Marriage in 2018, following completion of a 2017 study on the economic and social drivers of child marriage.

The Higher Population Council, the Jordanian National Commission for Women, UN Women, UNICEF, UNHCHR and UNFPA are implementing a joint project to end child marriage in Jordan.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

In Jordan the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. However exceptions mean individuals can marry at 15 years with judicial consent.

Under newly introduced regulations in 2017, if an exception to the 18 year minimum age requirement for marriage is to be granted, there must be a maximum 15 year age difference between man and woman, the husband must have no other wives, and the marriage must not prevent a girl from continuing her education.

Source

Department of Statistics and ICF International, Jordan Population and Family Health
Survey 2012, 2013, (accessed May 2018)

Girl Summit 2014, The Girl Summit Charter on Ending FGM and Child, Early and Forced Marriage, [website], 2015, (accessed February 2018)

Higher Population Council, A Study on Child Marriage in Jordan, 2017, (accessed March 2018)

Save the Children, Too young to wed: the growing problem of child marriage among Syrian girls in Jordan, 2014, (accessed March 2018)

UNICEF, A study on early marriage in Jordan, 2014, (accessed March 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Jordan, 2013, p.18, (accessed March 2018)

UN Women, Gender-based Violence and Child Protection among Syrian refugees in Jordan, with a focus on Early Marriage, 2013, (accessed March 2018)

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website] (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)

Members In Jordan