Photo credit: USAID
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)
While there is little information on the prevalence and drivers of child marriage in Yemen, UNICEF estimates that 32% of girls are married before the age of 18 .
Poverty, the practice of dowry and strict social and religious traditions and norms are drivers of child marriage in Yemen. With the onset of conflict in the country, child marriage is on the rise. A recent study estimated that over 65% of Yemeni girls are married off before 18, compared to 50% before the conflict .
Legal age of marriage
There is currently no legal age of marriage in Yemen.
In 2009, a proposed bill to set the minimum age of marriage at 17 was rejected but a more recent Children’s Act which seeks to set the age at 18 has been drafted.
Initiatives to end child marriage
The Safe Age of Marriage project was piloted in 2009 in Yemen’s Amran Governorate. The project covered communities in Al-Sawd and Al-Soodeh districts, where only 8 percent of girls ages 15 to 17 attended school.
Recent political instability has made it difficult for non-governmental and civil society organisations to operate within Yemen, therefore knowledge about child marriage prevention and response is very limited.
Yemen is part of the UNICEF and UNFPA Joint Programme on child marriage, which aims to consolidate donor interest into a multi-donor, multi-stakeholder global programme to accelerate the movement to end child marriage in 12 focus countries.
Members In Yemen
 UNICEF, State of the World’s Children, 2016.
 Female respondents aged 15 to 49 years in six governorates. UNICEF, Falling through the cracks. The children of Yemen, 2017.