Tajikistan: Poverty a Factor in Early Marriages
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 12:20 PM

A recent report issued by the Eurasia Foundation shows that widespread poverty in Tajikistan may be a contributing factor to the high rate of underage marriages throughout the country. The report identifies that girls are often forced into early marriages because their families can no longer continue to support them. Additionally, men are encouraged by their families to marry young, uneducated girls because they are more likely to be subservient and assist their mothers-in-law with chores.

Since 2010, the legal age of marriage in Tajikistan has been 18. However, advocates are finding that the practice of child marriage is continuing at an alarming rate, with marriages being blessed by religious leaders in the community legitimizing the union in the eyes of the community. This poses a continuing threat to women in Tajikistan- without a civil registration certificate, women have few legal rights. According to Azita Ranjbar, the author of the report, without a registered marriage it is difficult for women, upon divorce, to claim rights to joint property or even child support.

Azim Bayzoev, professor of gender studies at the Tajik National University, says harsher punishments must be implemented to reduce incidences of underage marriages. Bayzoev notes that the government lacks the resources or will to enforce such penalties. 

Compiled from: Poverty Encourages Early Marriages in Tajkikistan, EurasiaNet.org, (28 March 20120).