The Alarming Rate of Child Marriage in Yemen: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions


Child marriage is a prevalent issue in various parts of the world, and Yemen is one of the countries severely affected by this practice. It is alarming to witness the high rate of child marriages in Yemen, where young girls are forced into early marriages, depriving them of their childhood and basic human rights. This article sheds light on the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to combat this issue.

Causes of Child Marriage in Yemen:

1. Poverty: Poverty is one of the major underlying causes of child marriage in Yemen. Families living in poverty often view early marriage as a coping mechanism to alleviate economic burdens. Marrying off their daughters at an early age ensures one less mouth to feed and potentially brings a dowry.

2. Gender Inequality: Yemeni society is largely patriarchal, where women and girls are considered subordinate to men. Traditional beliefs and customs reinforce these perceptions, often leading to child marriages. Families may force girls into early marriages to secure their future by transferring responsibilities to their husbands.

3. Limited Access to Education: In Yemen, educational opportunities for girls are limited, particularly in rural areas. Lack of education reinforces the cycle of poverty and gender inequality. Families may marry off their daughters at an early age as they perceive education as unnecessary for females.

4. Cultural and Religious Factors: Traditional and cultural practices play a significant role in child marriages. In some parts of the country, it is customary to marry girls at a young age. Additionally, some religious interpretations are misused to justify early marriages, even though Islam emphasizes the importance of consent and adulthood.

Consequences of Child Marriage in Yemen:

1. Health Risks: Girls who are forced into early marriages face serious health risks. Due to their underdeveloped bodies, they are susceptible to complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Yemen has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality globally, largely due to child marriage.

2. Education Disruption: Child marriage disrupts the educational opportunities for girls. It becomes challenging for them to continue their studies or pursue any form of skill development. This lack of education perpetuates the cycle of poverty and hinders progress in society.

3. Psychological Impact: Child marriage inflicts severe psychological trauma on young girls. They are thrust into adult responsibilities without proper emotional preparedness, which can lead to anxiety, depression, and self-esteem issues.

4. Cycle of Poverty: One of the long-term consequences of child marriage is the perpetuation of poverty. Early marriage often results in a lack of education and limited economic opportunities for girls, leading to a cycle of poverty for future generations.

Solutions to Child Marriage in Yemen:

1. Public Awareness and Education: Creating awareness about the negative consequences of child marriage is crucial. Government agencies, NGOs, and community leaders should work together to educate parents, religious leaders, and community members about the importance of eradicating this practice.

2. Strengthening Legislation: Enacting and enforcing laws that set a minimum age for marriage is imperative. Yemeni authorities should work towards strengthening existing legislation and ensuring strict compliance.

3. Empowering Girls Through Education: Investing in education for girls is a long-term solution to combat child marriage. By providing quality education and skill development opportunities, girls can break the cycle of poverty and assert their rights.

4. Promoting Women’s Empowerment: Encouraging the economic empowerment of women is crucial to challenging patriarchal norms and practices. Providing vocational training, microfinance opportunities, and mentorship programs can empower women and help them become self-sufficient.


Q1. What is the legal age for marriage in Yemen?
A1. The legal age for marriage in Yemen is 18 for boys and 15 for girls, according to the country’s Personal Status Law. However, this law is often disregarded, and child marriages are prevalent.

Q2. Is child marriage culturally accepted in Yemen?
A2. Child marriage is deeply rooted in Yemeni culture, particularly in rural areas. However, it is important to note that not all communities or individuals support this practice, and efforts are being made to change mindsets.

Q3. How does child marriage impact boys in Yemen?
A3. While child marriage primarily affects young girls, it also indirectly impacts boys. Boys can be forced into early responsibility as husbands, fathers, and breadwinners, depriving them of their childhood and education.

Q4. What role can international organizations play in combating child marriage in Yemen?
A4. International organizations can contribute by providing financial assistance, technical expertise, and resources to combat child marriage in Yemen. They can also support local NGOs and advocacy groups working towards this cause.

Q5. Are there any success stories in reducing child marriage in Yemen?
A5. While the issue of child marriage remains significant in Yemen, there have been some successful initiatives. For instance, education programs targeting parents and community leaders have resulted in increased awareness and resistance to child marriage in certain regions.


The alarming rate of child marriage in Yemen remains a grave concern that demands immediate attention. By addressing the root causes, implementing effective legislation, and promoting education and women’s empowerment, Yemen can take significant steps toward eliminating this practice. It is crucial for both the Yemeni government and the international community to collaborate and invest in sustainable solutions that will protect the rights and well-being of young girls in Yemen.

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