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Turkmenistan

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
n/a
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
6%

* 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
6%

* 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?

6% of girls in Turkmenistan are married before the age of 18.

Child marriage is most prevalent in Lebap Velayat and lowest in Mary Velayat.

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 Turkmenistan, child marriage is also driven by:

  • Poverty: Girls living in Turkmenistan’s poorest households are slightly more likely to marry before the age of 18 than those living in the richest households.
  • Level of education: Some families are reluctant to educate their daughters beyond secondary school because they fear that this will make them undesirable in the marriage market.
  • Power dynamics: Among currently married women aged 20-24, 16% are married to a man who is older by up to nine years. Young girls often have little agency or say in decisions regarding marriage.
  • Traditional customs: Studies show that arranged marriages are a deeply rooted tradition in rural Turkmenistan. Reports suggest that the old custom of paying for a bride – known as kalyn – has seen a significant revival, and that “good prices” are available for girl brides.
  • Gender norms: Strong patriarchal attitudes regarding the role of women and girls persist in Turkmenistan. They continue to be seen as wives, mothers and caregivers, which limits their access to education and employment opportunities and reduces their influence over decisions related to marriage.

What has this country committed to?

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

Turkmenistan co-sponsored the 2013 and 2014 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage.

Turkmenistan acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1993, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1997, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

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

The government has worked with UN agencies to implement its first ever National Action Plan on Gender Equality to combat gender-based violence and meet its human rights obligations related to gender equality.

The National Action Plan is expected to be in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, but it is not yet clear if it specifically tackles child marriage.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

In 2012 the new Family Code of Turkmenistan came into force and the minimum legal age for marriage was raised to 18 years although individuals may still marry at 17 years in exceptional cases with consent of their parents or guardians.

Source

Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Price of Marriage in Turkmenistan, [website], 2012, https://iwpr.net/global-voices/price-marriage-turkmenistan (accessed February 2018)

Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Turkmen Women Suffer in Silence, [website], 2005, https://iwpr.net/global-voices/turkmen-women-suffer-silence (accessed February 2018)

International Women’s Rights Action Watch, Report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 2006, http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/iwraw/publications/countries/turkmenistan.htm (accessed February 2018)

Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights (TIHR), Submission to CEDAW 53rd Session, 2012, http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CEDAW/Shared%20Documents/TKM/INT_CEDAW_NGO_TKM_13204_E.pdf (accessed February 2018)

UNICEF, Turkmenistan Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2015-2016, 2017, https://mics-surveys-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/MICS5/Europe%20and%20Central%20Asia/Turkmenistan/2015-2016/Final/Turkmenistan%202015-2016%20MICS_English.pdf (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)