Underage marriages increase amid pandemic in Jordan — report

[11-08-2021 11:11 AM]

Ammon News - Underage marriage rates increased in Jordan during 2020 to reach 11.8 per cent, according to the local women’s organisation, Solidarity Is Global Institute (SIGI).

SIGI reported that there were 7,964 contracts in Jordan for underage marriages, or marriages where one spouse who was under the age of 18, in 2020.

Of the underage marriages, 2,117 girls (26.5 per cent) were 15 to 16 years old, 2,570 girls were 16 to 17 years old (32.4 per cent) and 3,277 girls were 17 to 18 years old (41.1 per cent), according to data from the Supreme Judge Department.

The report pointed out that the pandemic has impacted the number of underage marriages, which increased by 740 contracts.

The rate of underage marriages in 2020 increased 1.2 per cent from 2019, according to SIGI’s report.

The report noted that there is a “strong relationship between dropping out of school and underage marriage”.

During the 2019-2020 academic year, 7,284 male and female students dropped out of schools, 3,438 being female students (47.2 per cent) and 3,846 male students (52.8 per cent).

The highest numbers of dropouts were between the eighth and 10th grades, according to the Ministry of Education’s annual report for the year 2019-2020.

According to Article 4 of the “Instructions for Granting Permission to Marry for Those Who Have Completed Fifteen Years of Age and Have Not Completed Eighteen” of the year 2017, “marriage shall not be a reason for dropping out of school”.

“However, given the lack of data on the number of married underage females enrolled in public and private schools, as well as in UNRWA schools, establishing the existence of this condition appears unlikely,” SIGI’s report noted.

SIGI added that the early marriage of girls makes them “unwanted in schools” and enrollment becomes more difficult with pregnancy.

Sociologist Hussein Al Khozahe warned of the consequences and dangers of underage marriage on society and children.

“Underage marriage has psychological, social and economic effects. It deprives children of their right to make their own decisions, their right to a social life and the right to education,” Khozahe said.

Khozahe pointed out that there should be more awareness of the dangers of underage marriage for families in society, in order to decrease the prevalence of this phenomenon.

“Underage marriage for girls also leads to dangerous health issues because pregnancy under the age of 18 is not ideal,” Khozahe also pointed out.

Khozahe indicated that the reason behind the increase in the rates of underage marriage during the pandemic may be because marriage costs are lower.

“The pandemic will continue to play a role in increasing the rates of child marriage,” he added.

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