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UNFPA- May 22, 2015

The views expressed in this paper are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), or its
Board of Governors, or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this paper and accepts no responsibility
for any consequence of their use. The countries listed in this paper do not imply any view on ADB's part as to sovereignty or independent status or necessarily
conform to ADB's terminology.

Overview
1. Where does child marriage occur?- Global and
regional prevalence and scale
2. Motherhood in Childhood- Adolescent
Pregnancy
3. The underlying context- Son Preference
Son Preference and skewed Sex Ratios at Birth

4.
5.
6.
7.

The intermediate determinants


The impact
Signs of change
The road ahead- Charting the future

Child Marriage around the World


Source: UNFPA database using DHS, MICS and other household surveys

About half the child brides in the developing


world live in Asia excluding China

Child Marriage in South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific

% women 20-14 married by age 18

70.0

64.9

60.0
47.4

50.0
40.7
40.0
30.0
20.0
9.0

10.0
3.9
0.0

10.4

11.5

14.2

16.8

18.4

19.6

22.0

24.0

43.0

Adolescent birth rates are


highest where child
marriage is most prevalent
Developing
Regions

Girls aged 15-19


Currently
married (%)

Adolescent
birth rate

Arab States

12

50

East Asia and


Pacific

50

South Asia

25

88

Eastern
Europe and
Central Asia

31

Sub-Saharan
Africa

24

120

Latin America

12

84

Son Preference: The underlying context


Socio-cultural, economic, political and religious factors -sons

perceived as more valuable than daughters


Context of patriarchal kinship systems

Manifested in harmful practices such as child marriage and


gender biased sex selection

Other harmful manifestations - infanticide, violence against


women and girls and customary harmful practices

Son Preference and Skewed Sex Ratios at Birth


Normal SRB range= 104-106 boys born for every 100 girls born

Country/regions
East and South East Asia
China
Hong Kong
Taiwan
Singapore
South Korea
Viet Nam
South Asia
India
Pakishtan
West Asia
Azerbaijan
Armenia
Georgia
Southeast Europe
Albania
Montenegro

SRB
117.8
116.2
108.4
107.5
106.7
111.2

Period
2011
2011
2009
2009
2010
2010

Data Source
Annual estimate
Birth registration
Birth registration
Birth registration
Birth registration
Annual demographic survey

110.5
109.9

2008-10
Sample registration
2007 Population and demographic survey

116.5
114.9
113.6

2011
2010
2009-11

Birth registration
Birth registration
Birth registration

111.7
109.8

2008-10
2009-11

Birth registration
Birth registration

Patriarchy and Son Preference as a strong underlying


context

Determinants of Child Marriage and Adolescent Pregnancy

Impact of Child Marriage


Perpetuates Poverty

Deprives girls of Education

Child brides are more


likely to drop out of
school

LIFE TIME COST OF ADOLESCENT


PREGNANCY, AS SHARE OF ANNUAL GDP

% WOMEN20-24 years who were married


before age 18 by REGION and EDUCATION

Impact of Child Marriage


Health risks
Poor access to
reproductive health services
Complications due to
pregnancy and childbirth
leading cause of death
among older adolescent
girls
I knew about condoms, but
Other risks- obstetric
could not ask my husband to
fistula, unsafe abortion, STIs,
use one. I was only 16 when I
psychological impact
got married and felt he
GIRLS AGE 15-19 who are
would get angry,CPR
as among
I was less
MARRIED
educated than
himor in UNION
Adolescent girl aged 19, India

Risk of Violence
Young age- a risk factor for
experiencing violence at the
hands of an intimate partner
Perpetrators of sexual
violence are typically boys
and men known to their
adolescent victims
25% ever married women
aged 15-19 in India had
experienced spousal
physical violence (NFHS-3)

Impact of Skewed Sex Ratios


Gender Biased Sex Selection: Emerging Consequences

Consequences for Women

Consequences for Men

Increased exploitation of
Delayed marriage among
men
women, trafficking, cross
Increased resort to
regional marriages violence
trafficking etc.
against women
Pressure on women to marry Increase in involuntary
non-marriage
and bear children
Impact stronger among
Control of womens lives and
the vulnerable men:
bodies
poorer, less educated,

from remote areas


Bare branches

Signs of Change
Child Marriage- In
Nepal, the prevalence
of child marriage has
declined substantially
(20 per cent or more)
during a short period
of five years
In India, rates of child marriage among girls under age 15
declined twice as fast as those among girls under 18 (Between
1999 &2005-06); Census 2011 data indicates further decline in
age at marriage
Skewed Sex Ratios- Positive change also achieved in terms of
arresting imbalance in SRBs in S.Korea- SRB imbalance began
in the 1980s, peaked at 115 in 1994 and has since declined to
almost normal (106.7 in 2010); patterns of a slow decline or
plateauing seen in Coastal China, South Caucasus and India

Charting the way ahead...


What is needed is a new way of thinking
Instead of viewing the girl as the problem
and changing her behaviour as the solution,
governments, communities, families and
schools should see poverty, gender
inequality, discrimination, lack of access to
services, and negative views about girls and
women as the real challenges, and the
pursuit of social justice, equitable
development and the empowerment of girls
as the true pathway ...
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin
Executive Director, UNFPA
Under-Secretary-General of the UN

Five Ways to Get There


1.

Empower girls (unmarried and married) by building their skills and


enhancing their social, health and financial assets
o

2.

Improve girls access to quality secondary education


o

3.

CCTs, vocational training and skill building, linking girls to income-generating activities

Generate an enabling legal and policy environment


o

5.

Provide comprehensive sexuality education, residential schools for girls, bridge courses
for re-enrolent of girls, CCTs for older adolescent girls in Bangladesh and India

Enhance the economic situation of girls and their families


o

4.

Life skills training, provision of safe spaces for girls to discuss their futures, the provision
of information about their options, and the development of support networks

Reconciliation of laws to ensure consistent minimum legal age of marriage, and strict
enforcement mechanisms; strengthen civil registration and vital statistics
Ensure legal measures to protect and promote womens rights (gender biased sex
selection, dowry, violence, inheritance, employment)

Mobilize communities to transform detrimental social norms


o

Engaging with men and boys; using mass media communication tools

Bottom line: Policies aimed at enhancing the value of girls

... And The Benefits

Increased Economic Productivity and Employment: Investments that


empower girls helps reverse intergenerational poverty
More Girls Completing their Education: Builds skills, enhances girls
value; also reduces the likelihood of child marriage and delays child
bearing leading eventually to healthier birth outcomes
Better Maternal and Child Health: Later pregnancies reduce health
risks to girls and to their children
Demographic impact: Increased value of girls, prevents harmful
practices such as gender biased sex selection restoring the sex ratio
balance; further reduces population momentum
Equal Rights and Opportunity: Increases productive participation of
girls; expands their role in society, ensures girls enjoy all basic human
rights

Delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted,


every childbirth is safe and every young persons potential is fulfilled

Acknowledgements:
Information for this presentation has been drawn from various sources from UNFPA, UNICEF,
World Bank, Population Council, ICRW and Girls Not Brides
http://www.unfpa.org/

EDUCATING GIRLS AND ENABLING WITH EQUAL ACCESS TO LABOR MARKETS


TRANSLATES TO TRILLIONS OF $ ADDED TO GDP IN THE WORLDS POOREST COUNTRIES

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