New Report: Child Marriage Persists in Southeast Asia Due to Cultural Traditions, Violence, Poverty and Discrimination

Plan International and Coram International have issued a new report that analyzes data collected in 2014 and 2015 on the root causes of child marriage in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia. The study found that rates of child marriage remain high in all three countries despite a majority of persons interviewed agreeing that child marriage is a harmful practice. Data gathered by the report’s authors indicate that the major factors influencing the high rates of child marriage include: social and cultural attitudes that assign women and girls an inferior place in societal structures; female economic dependency; lack of educational opportunity; violence against women and girls; lack of access to health services; and a lack of state compliance with existing legal frameworks.

The report also found that programs to combat forced and child marriage have yet to create appreciable change for women and girls in the countries studied. Recommendations to accelerate change include: poverty reduction programs; improved access to education; programs to end violence against women and girls and increase gender equality; increased access to sexual and reproductive health services; strengthened laws and institutions; and, improved communication on the harms associated with child marriage. The report’s authors pledged to continue the Asia Child Marriage Initiative (ACMI) by coordinating with the UN, local governments, communities, and civil society. 

The full report is available from the Plan International website.

Compiled from: Getting the Evidence: Asia Child Marriage InitiativePlan International Publications and Research (November 9, 2016); Child Marriage, Plan International Newsletter (November 2016).