A 13-year-old child bride sits with her 38-year-old husband after being married and taken to his village in Niger. In Niger, where early marriage rates approach the highest in the world, only 15 percent of adult women are literate, and fewer than one-third of girls are enrolled in primary school.
World Vision Press Center
On a previous post,there was some discussions about parental responsibilities to a seventeen year old pregnant girl. One of the posters referred to the seventeen year old as a child and there was some discussion as to whether a seventeen year old was a child or an adult.
At some stage in life there is a transition from childhood to being an adult. Most of the modern world agrees that children enter the earlier teen years and exit the late teens as an adult. The current debate on drinking age is an easy example.
World cultures differ on the fundamentals of the concept of childhood. The differences are profound, extensive and to me personally troubling. Men need the balance of woman in their lives. For that to be effective the woman should be peers. Woman, of equal stature as men, have a significant attenuating effect on male behavior. That is mostly a good thing. That is also not possible in virulently paternalistic societies.
RANK COUNTRY % MARRIED BEFORE AGE 15
- Bangladesh - 52.5
- Niger - 37.6
- Chad - 34.9
- Ethiopia - 31.4
- India - 30.9
- Nigeria - 30.6
- Mauritania - 29.3
- Mali - 25.1
- Guinea - 23.5
- Mozambique - 21.7
- Cameroon - 20.1
- Eritrea - 19.7
- Uganda - 15.9
- Nepal - 15.3
- Nicaragua - 14.6
Note: Some countries with a high incidence of child marriage, such as Afghanistan, are not included due to insufficient data.
Fatima, 11, was recently engaged to a man twice her age in exchange for $6,000. In Afghanistan, amid a serious drought and the global food crisis, families are exchanging their daughters into marriage. Afghan law states that a girl must be 16 years of age and give consent to marry, but in the face of increasing hunger and debt, such laws mean little.
© 2008 Mary Kate MacIsaac/ World Vision