Child marriage is widely recognised as a violation of human rights and a hindrance to national development. In fact, evidence suggests that the practice of child marriage is closely associated with lower educational attainment, early pregnancies, intimate partner violence, maternal and child mortality, increased rates of sexually transmitted infections, intergenerational poverty, and the disempowerment of married girls. In committing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the international community has vowed to end the practice of child marriage by 2030.
This report from UNICEF looks at historical trends, with a focus on selected countries that have recorded significant declines in child marriage prevalence. It offers an overview of changes in the practice of child marriage together with a review of other shifts that have occurred in these countries in terms of girls’ access to education and employment opportunities, as well as economic development and poverty reduction.