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Nicaragua

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
10%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
41%
International Ranking*

24

* 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
10%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
41%
International Ranking*

24

* 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?

35% of girls in Nicaragua are married before their 18th birthday and 10% are married before the age of 15.

It is common for girls to enter into unions with boys of a similar age. Such unions are seen as normal and usually go unreported.

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. In Nicaragua, child marriage is also driven by:

  • Level of education: Girls with no education or just primary education are at higher risk of marrying before the age of 18. Many feel restricted by beliefs that education for girls is a waste of money because they will ultimately get married or become pregnant.
  • Poverty: Many girls are forced into marriages as their families are struggling financially and can receive money in return. Nevertheless, a 2015 study shows that only one in five girls feel marrying young actually helps to reduce a family’s financial burden.
  • Violence against girls: Some girls in Nicaragua consider marriage an escape from threats of sexual harassment and violence within their homes, in school and in public places.
  • Gender norms: Girls lack choice and control over decisions about marriage, and have limited confidence to raise concerns with their families or communities.

What has this country committed to?

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

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

Nicaragua ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1981, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

During its 2014 Universal Periodic Review, Nicaragua supported recommendations to ensure that child marriage is addressed promptly by making the minimum age of marriage equal for girls and boys.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

A new Family Code in 2014 raised the minimum legal age of marriage to 18 years for girls and boys.
However, legal representatives of girls and boys can give permission for them to marry at 16 or 17 years. If there is a conflict with this, then it will be resolved through the courts in conjunction with the National Procurator’s Office of the Family and the Ministry of Family, Adolescence and Children.

Source

Instituto Nacional de Información de Desarrollo, Encuesta nicaragüense de demografía y salud : ENDESA 2011/12: informe final, 2012, (accessed May 2018)

Plan International, Counting the Invisible: Using data to transform the lives of girls and women by 2030, 2016, (accessed February 2018)

Plan International, Girls Speak Out: A four-country survey of young women’s attitudes and recommendations for action, 2015, (accessed February 2018)

Plan International, Women Stand Up against Abuse in Nicaragua, [website] 2017, (accessed February 2018)

Population Council, Exploratory research to assess the problem of child marriage in five Latin American countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and southern Mexico, 2013, (accessed February 2018)

UN Child Rights Committee, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 44 of the Convention, Concluding observations: Nicaragua, 2010, (accessed May 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Nicaragua, 2014, p.17, (accessed February 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)