Legislating and enforcing the minimum age of marriage: A comparative study of experiences and lessons learned in ending the legalization of child marriage

This publication provides learnings and insights from 43 countries, including a deep dive of nine countries, on different approaches for undertaking child marriage reforms across different legal systems and global contexts.

Early or child marriage is a human rights violation that denies girls the opportunity to develop to their full potential and has far-reaching consequences on their health and well-being. It is linked to:

  • intimate partner violence,
  • reduced educational attainment,
  • increased prevalence of early pregnancy and its associated sexual and reproductive health complications,
  • restricted decision-making capacities and physical mobility,
  • increased prevalence of depression, and
  • poor economic opportunities.

Research has found that girls who are married before 18 years of age are more likely to earn less over their lifetime and live in poverty with their children.

Given the urgent need for reform, this publication is intended to galvanize efforts by governments, civil society, donors, and the UN system to end the legalization of child marriage worldwide and achieve the empowerment of all women and girls.

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