What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?
4% of girls in Qatar are married before their 18th birthday.
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 very limited information on child marriage in Qatar, but available studies show that it is driven by:
- Level of education. 21% of women who do not hold secondary education were married before the age of 18, compared to only 3% who had completed higher education.
What has this country committed to?
Qatar has 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 Reviews at the 2017 or 2018 High Level Political Forums, the mechanism through which countries report their progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Qatar ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1995, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 2009, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.
During its 2017 review, the UN Child Rights Committee recommended that the government raise the minimum age of marriage for girls to 18 and increase awareness of the harmful effects of child marriage in collaboration with the media, traditional and religious leaders and families.
What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?
Under the Family Code 2006, the minimum legal age of marriage is 16 years. However marriage is allowed before the age of 16 if the legal guardian and the two persons to be married all consent.
Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), 2012, 2014, (accessed May 2018)
UN Child Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the combined third and fourth periodic reports of Qatar, 2017, p.5, (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)