Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative; Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program, CFR
Chief of Sexual and Reproductive Health, United Nations Population Fund
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon,
Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy, CFR
Nice Nailante Leng'ete,
Anti-FGM Advocate in Maasai Community
CEO, World Learning; Former Deputy Administrator, USAID
Rachel B. Vogelstein,
Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy, CFR
Ending Child Marriage: How Elevating the Status of Girls Advances U.S. Foreign Policy Objectives (May 2013)
Rachel Vogelstein, CFR fellow for women and foreign policy, explains why the United States should focus on combating child marriage worldwide to achieve its international development goals.
Marrying Too Young: End Child Marriage (2012)
This United Nations Population Fund report provides an overview of the causes and consequences of child marriage, focusing on what can be done to end the practice.
Child Marriage Reports and Publications
Girls Not Brides features a curated collection of reports and publications on child marriage from various organizations, searchable by date, region, and theme.
UNICEF: Early Marriage: Child Spouses (2001)
This Innocenti Digest report lays out the historical and cultural context for child marriage and analyzes its impact on the lives of girls and on wider society.
Minimum Legal Age for Marriage Without Consent (2008)
This chart from the UN Statistics Division provides a country-by-country breakdown of legal ages of marriage for males and females.
The State of the World's Children 2013: Child Protection (2013)
This data set from the UN surveys child marriage prevalence rates by country, using marriages at ages fifteen and eighteen as indicators.
Before She's Ready: 15 Places Girls Marry by 15 (2008)
This World Vision report focuses on countries with high rates of child marriage for girls under the age of fifteen, analyzing factors driving the practice.
Early Marriage: A Harmful Traditional Practice: A Statistical Exploration (2005)
This report by UNICEF offers a statistical analysis of child marriage rates by country, breaking down the data by geography, religion, income, and educational attainment.
Ford Foundation 2011 Annual Report: Youth Sexuality and Rights (2011)
This interactive map by the Ford Foundation showcases data on child marriage prevalence, maternal mortality, and education in thirty countries with the highest rates of child marriage.
Risks and Consequences
Motherhood in Childhood: Facing the Challenge of Adolescent Pregnancy (2013)
This UNFPA State of World Population report surveys the effects of adolescent pregnancy on girls' lives and discusses approaches to government programs that aim to combat the practice.
Too Young to Wed: The Lives, Rights and Health of Young Married Girls (2003)
This report from the International Center for Research on Women analyzes the developmental consequences that early marriage has on girls and their communities.
Protecting Young Women From HIV/AIDS: The Case Against Child and Adolescent Marriage (June 2006)
This study, published in International Family Planning Perspectives, analyzes the link between child marriage and HIV/AIDS among adolescent girls in developing countries.
Child Marriage and the Law (2008)
This policy analysis from UNICEF surveys human rights norms against child marriage and discusses how to build a human rights framework against the practice.
Strengthening Efforts to Prevent and Eliminate Child, Early, and Forced Marriage (2013)
This UN Human Rights Council resolution requests a report to guide a panel discussion on the challenges, achievements, best practices, and implementation gaps for preventing and eliminating child marriage.
African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1999)
This charter, ratified by forty-one African states, lays out specific rights to ensure the welfare of children.
Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990)
This convention is the first legally binding international agreement to guarantee civil, economic, social, cultural, and political rights to children.
Conflict, Crisis, and Child Marriage
Untying the Knot: Exploring Early Marriage in Fragile States (2013)
This report from World Vision analyzes the practice of child marriage in states undergoing security or humanitarian crises.
Afghanistan: Ending Child Marriage and Domestic Violence (September 2013)
Human Rights Watch discusses the links between child marriage and domestic violence in Afghanistan and recommends strategies for the Afghan government to protect women and girls.
Harmful Traditional Practices and Child Protection: Contested Understandings and Practices of Female Child Marriage and Circumcision in Ethiopia (February 2013)
This paper explores local views on child marriage and female circumcision in Ethiopia.
Assessing the Multiple Disadvantages of Mayan Girls: The Effects of Gender, Ethnicity, Poverty, and Residence on Education in Guatemala (June 2007)
This Population Council report analyzes the economic and educational disadvantages of Mayan girls in Guatemalan society.
Encyclopedia of Adolescence (2007)
This reference book details the societal and familial roles of adolescents in countries around the world and notes how cultural and economic contexts shape adolescent girls' experiences.
Child Marriage in Southern Asia: Policy Options For Action (2012)
This joint report from Australian AID, the ICRW, and the UNFPA contains policy briefs on child marriage in nine countries in South Asia.
New Insights on Preventing Child Marriage: A Global Analysis of Factors and Programs (April 2007)
This ICRW report focuses on helping policymakers devise a program to prevent child marriage.
Solutions to End Child Marriage: What the Evidence Shows (2011)
The ICRW reviews child marriage prevention programs around the world and highlights strategies that have proven successful.
Ending Child Marriage and Meeting the Needs of Married Children (2012)
This U.S. Agency for International Development report outlines its vision for action against child marriage.
These discussion questions, essay questions, activities and assignments, and supplementary resources are designed to help educators use the “Child Marriage” InfoGuide in the classroom through an active, learner-centered approach.
In the Classroom
In-class activity ideas and homework assignments based on the "Child Marriage" InfoGuide that promote participatory learning and critical thinking. These can be adapted based on students’ levels and classroom needs. For high school teachers, these activities are accompanied by a list and description of the Common Core State Standards they meet.
Ideas for questions to use in facilitating full-class discussions, assigning small group discussion topics, or posting on a class discussion board. Questions allow students to critically reflect on the material provided in the InfoGuide and hone their communication skills.
Suggestions for essay topics that enable students to dive deeper into the material found in the InfoGuide and conduct their own research and analysis.
"When my parents mentioned marriage, I had no idea what ‘marriage’ even meant.”
- Kamla, married at 13.
Source: The Daily Beast, “Ending Early Marriage in India,” October 2013.
“I was really in need of money and thought it was a solution for the family."
- Abdul Mohammed Ali, father of a nine-year-old bride in Yemen. Source: BBC News, “Child Marriage and Divorce in Yemen,” November 2008.
“Islamic law allows marriage not by age but by maturity, which is attained once a girl reaches the age of puberty.”
- Senator Sani Ahmed Yerima, Nigeria. Source: Interview with Channels Television, August 2013
“Child marriage is a social menace. It is a socioeconomic problem.”
- Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, India. Source: OneIndia News, “WB Govt Launches ‘Kanyashree’ to Prevent Child Marriage,” October 2013
“I do not agree for anyone to marry a girl very early before she is of age to be wed.”
- Imam Malm Magagi, Niger
Source: UNICEF Media Centre, “UNICEF Helps to Begin Changing Attitudes Towards Early Marriage in Niger,” December 2010.
“Education for girls is one of the best strategies for protecting girls against child marriage.”
- Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. Source: United Nations, “Secretary-General’s Message for 2012.”