Study: child marriage hinders development [Archives:2005/879/Reportage]

September 22 2005


SANA'A- Sept. 20- An academic field study, reviewed on a workshop held last Sunday at the Woman and Development Studies Center, revealed that there is relation between child marriage and the increase of poverty rate in the society.

A number of media personnel and social personalities of distinction attended the workshop, which was organized by the British Charitable Organization, Oxfam, in cooperation with the National Woman Committee and Shaima'a Network.

The study stated that poor families marry their daughters as soon as they reach the age of puberty due to difficult economic conditions, poverty and lack of awareness and culture.

The study confirmed that families consider daughters a big burden on income and hope to gain some money for marrying them. The dowries of daughters are usually used for marrying sons.

Hadramout tops the list of Yemeni governorates in terms of child marriages, followed by the Governorate of Hodeida. The study made it clear, that provincial culture and social traditions cause the problems of child marriages in Hadramout, while poverty is the main issue responsible for the early marriages in Hodeida.

The study was based on a sample of 4773 male and female individuals and stressed that early marriage leads to far too early pregnancy. Early pregnancy exposes young mothers to danger and the spread of varied diseases, among others anemia and malnutrition.

The study stressed further that child marriage is responsible for a short lived marital relationship that in cases leads to divorce.

The study specified the necessity of containing development projects in order to combat the issue of child marriage, and to improve the standard of health, education and poverty.

The study mentioned the majority of younger wives are subjected to beating and quarrel as they can not shoulder responsibilities at home; some of them are usually divorced without any convincing reasons and the early age of the spouses is exploited by their parents to intrude in their marital affairs.

The paper demanded that social awareness should be raised, particularly among fathers to help them stop violence against their children and wives. It also insisted on the implementation of a cultural media campaign on the cultural and traditional practices that have their negative impacts on women and children.

The workshop was held as part of a series of awareness activities organized by the Woman and Development Studies Center in cooperation with the National Woman Committee and Shaima'a Network.

The study is composed of a number of themes, the first of which focused on the social features and the spread of child marriages across the country. The second theme concentrated the physical and emotional health as well as the marital relationship between the child spouses.

The workshop, inaugurated by Prof. Saleh Basurrah, Rector of Sana'a University accompanied by a numbers of academics and researchers, discussed the different aspects and risks associated with the phenomenon of child marriage.

Prof. Basurrah emphasized the importance of extending the study findings to decision-makers and called for conducting a similar study on old age and relatives marriages.

Dr. Adel al-Shar'abi, Chairman of the Study-Implementation Team, laid emphasis on carrying out awareness campaigns to help restricts the phenomenon. He confirmed that girls who marry at early age lose the opportunity of education, the acquisition of skills and suitable source of income that has its effects on the health of the young mothers and their children.