General Article Child marriage laws are an important first step, but not sufficient

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This is an extract from a published article.

By Quentin Wodon, Paula Tavares, Oliver Fiala, Alexis Nestour and Lisa Wise


Child marriage is defined as a formal or informal union before the age of 18. The practice affects mostly girls. While child marriage is especially prevalent in low and lower-middle income countries, it is also observed in other countries. It endangers the life trajectories of girls in multiple ways. Child brides are at greater risk of experiencing a range of poor health outcomes, having children at younger ages when they are not yet ready to do so, dropping out of school, earning less over their lifetime, and living in poverty compared to their peers who marry at later ages. Child brides may also be more likely to experience intimate partner violence, have restricted physical mobility, and limited decision-making ability. Most fundamentally, child brides may be disempowered in ways that deprive them of their basic rights to health, education and safety...

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