Malawi: Parliament Adopts New Law Against Child Marriage

The Parliament of Malawi recently approved a new law that sets the minimum age of marriage at 18 for girls and boys. Previously, the minimum legal marriage age was 16, although many girls married at much younger ages due to widely held cultural beliefs in Malawi that, “a girl should marry as early as possible to maximise her fertility.” According the organization Girls Not Brides, the new Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations law is important because one out of every two girls in Malawi is married before she reaches 18 years of age. Advocates say the country must resolve a legal conflict between the Malawi Constitution, which allows children to marry between the ages of 15 and 18, and the new law that forbids such marriages.


Compiled from: Chimwaza, Ephraim, After Malawi’s new marriage law: what next to end child marriage?, Girls Not Brides (March 5, 2015); Mohamed, Faiza Jama, Malawi sets legal minimum age of marriage at 18, Girls Not Brides (February 17, 2015).