Malawi: Increase of Minimum Marriage Age to 16
Friday, September 4, 2009 12:16 PM

On 11 August 2009, the Malawi parliament passed a law increasing the marriageable age from 15 to 16 years old with parental consent. The move has come under criticism by local groups for parliament’s failure to raise the minimum marriage age to 18.


The Family Planning Association of Malawi argues that young girls are at higher risk of death because of pregnancy-related complications and that the marriage of 16-year olds is akin to child abuse because, as a minor, they cannot give valid consent. Additionally, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a document that Malawi ratified, states that minors under the age of 18 are considered children.


The National Health Minister, Moses Chirambo, states that the move will help improve the standing of girls within Malawi. He argues that the new law, coupled with sex education, could decrease the primary school drop out rate in Malawi.


Compiled from: Library of Congress, “Malawi: New Law Increases Minimum Marriage Age to 16.” (31 August 2009.)