Ending child marriage in a generation: What research is needed?

Ending Child Marriage.pdf

This study outlines existing research and programmes and proposes a strategic investment framework to catalyze change.

 Bringing an end to child marriage requires coordinated, multi-sectoral efforts that:

  • empower girls
  • mobilize their families and communities
  • change gender-inequitable social norms
  • strengthen and implement laws and policies

 The author proposes four key issues and themes to consider in future research.

Investment framework for research and programs

Child marriage is a universal issue in the sense that it occurs in every region, among people of every religion. Compared to their unmarried peers or to older women, girls who marry before the age of 18 are likely to have:

  • lower educational attainment
  • a greater chance of experiencing unwanted pregnancies
  • a higher risk of sexual and reproductive health morbidities and maternal mortality
  • exposure to HIV infection
  • violence in the home
  • limited freedom to interact with their peers
  • restricted participation with civic and cultural activities in their communities

We’re seeing a growing consensus around the importance of creating pathways for girls, to help them map out clear alternatives to early marriage. So we need to understand how to bring together organizations working on issues including livelihoods, education and norm change in communities – all of the different elements that make it possible for girls and their families to choose not to marry before age 18.

Critical reflection on existing research gaps is important to all empowerment efforts, not only child marriage. The paper provides a useful structure for more collaborative and effective research programming.




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