Forced Marriage: The Impact Of Child Marriage

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Child marriage is defined by the UNICEF as “a formal marriage or informal union before age 18”. Forced marriage goes hand in hand with child marriage because children rarely have the capacity to resist. Both girls and boys are victims, although girls more so than boys. There is not much research about the impact of child marriage on boys because girls feel the biggest impact of it. Child marriage was a common and widespread practice in the past for many reasons—politics, financial security and shorter lifespans are some of the most well-known. It severely limits the future of girls, endangers their health, makes them more susceptible to domestic violence, and in developing countries, detracts from the workforce. Despite these things, it is…show more content…
In poor areas—especially Africa, parents tend towards having more children so there is a higher chance of a child’s survival to adulthood and better security in their old age for the parents. However, there is also a lack in financial ability to provide for the children, and thus, priority in care is usually given to the sons because the wages of men were higher than those of women. Africa was based heavily on an agricultural economy for a long time, and men had a higher wage than women because of the type of work. Thus, daughters can be married off earlier to gain a bride price from the groom’s family and lessen the burden of feeding another mouth on the bride’s family. Saving a dowry was difficult in Africa because of the scarcity of resources so as soon as families could scrape one together, they would try and marry their daughter off before the dowry could disappear. The marriage would also construct a relationship between the two families which was especially helpful in an agrarian community. The girl would be unable to refuse because her family could not provide for her and it was improbable for her to be able to make a living on her own. By marrying, she would have some measure of security and…show more content…
Families or tribes who want to make an alliance use marriage as a bond between the two parties. Marriage was a common method for sealing alliances because it tied two parties together by blood. Two houses would betroth their children to each other to further their political or economic goals. In ancient China, officials would offer their young daughters up as concubines or wives to the Emperor or princes to have a stronger relationship with the current ruler. Youth did not determine the purity of the daughters, but it did help give the impression of it. These daughters were also told to try and help further their fathers’ political goals by becoming intimate with the emperor. If a son could be birthed, the family’s status would greatly increase because a prince came from their line. The daughter had a chance to become the empress or empress dowager. In Japan, there were instances where the shogun would marry daughters of political enemies to their own relatives to deter action from their enemies. Political hostages were taken in this way. They were generally not treated poorly, but they had no choice in the matter. Child marriage for political reasons happens rarely now; it is more common as a cultural tradition and a response to socioeconomic

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