The Lingering Crisis: Child marriage persists in Yemen in 2021

Child marriage has long been a deeply rooted cultural practice in Yemen, with devastating consequences for young girls. Despite efforts to combat this issue, child marriage continues to persist in Yemen in 2021, further exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in the country. This article explores the reasons behind the lingering crisis of child marriage in Yemen, the impact it has on young girls, and the steps that need to be taken to address this issue.

Yemen is currently experiencing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. The ongoing civil war has resulted in widespread instability and economic collapse, making it difficult for families to meet basic needs. In such desperate circumstances, many parents feel forced to marry off their young daughters in order to alleviate financial burdens. Poverty is a driving factor behind child marriage in Yemen, as families often see marrying off their daughters as a way to reduce expenses and secure economic advantages.

Another contributing factor to child marriage in Yemen is the cultural and traditional beliefs that permeate society. Deeply embedded patriarchal norms perpetuate the idea that a girl’s value lies in her role as a wife and mother, rather than in her education or personal development. This mindset reinforces the cycle of child marriage, as girls are seen as commodities to be traded rather than individuals with rights and aspirations.

The consequences of child marriage for young girls are severe and far-reaching. Physically, these girls often experience complications during childbirth due to their bodies not being fully matured. They are also at a higher risk of developing serious health issues, such as obstetric fistula, as a result of early pregnancy. Psychologically, child brides often suffer from depression, anxiety, and a sense of hopelessness, as they are thrust into adult responsibilities before they are emotionally prepared.

Education is also severely impacted by child marriage. Many girls are forced to drop out of school in order to get married, as marriage is seen as the end of their educational journey. This perpetuates a cycle of illiteracy and lack of opportunities for girls, limiting their potential and perpetuating poverty.

Efforts to combat child marriage in Yemen have been met with numerous challenges. The ongoing conflict and political instability have hindered the implementation and enforcement of laws and policies aimed at ending child marriage. Additionally, traditional practices and customs often take precedence over legal frameworks, making it difficult to change deep-rooted cultural norms.

To address this issue, a multi-dimensional approach is required. Firstly, there is a need for increased investment in education, particularly for girls. Access to quality education can empower young girls and provide them with better opportunities for the future. This includes initiatives that target marginalized communities and provide safe spaces for girls to learn and grow.

Secondly, a comprehensive public awareness campaign is necessary to challenge the cultural beliefs that justify child marriage. This campaign should involve religious and community leaders, as well as youth activists, to highlight the harmful consequences of child marriage and promote alternative values that prioritize the rights and well-being of girls.

Thirdly, there is a need for stronger implementation and enforcement of laws that specifically target child marriage. The legal age of marriage should be raised to 18, without exceptions, and penalties for those who engage in child marriage should be strengthened. In addition, support services should be provided to young girls who have been subjected to child marriage, including access to healthcare, counseling, and protection from further abuse.

Finally, international pressure and support are crucial in addressing the issue of child marriage in Yemen. The international community must use its influence to push for greater accountability and commitment from the Yemeni government in ending child marriage. This includes providing financial aid and technical assistance to organizations working on the ground to combat child marriage and support affected girls.

In conclusion, child marriage continues to persist in Yemen in 2021, despite the ongoing efforts to address this issue. The complex interplay of poverty, cultural norms, and conflict has made it difficult to eradicate this harmful practice. However, with a multi-faceted approach that includes investment in education, public awareness campaigns, stronger legal frameworks, and international support, progress can be made to protect the rights and well-being of young girls in Yemen.

FAQs:

Q: What is the legal age of marriage in Yemen?
A: The legal age of marriage in Yemen is 15 for boys and 9 for girls, although this is often ignored in practice.

Q: How common is child marriage in Yemen?
A: Child marriage is extremely common in Yemen, with approximately two-thirds of girls being married before the age of 18.

Q: What are the consequences of child marriage?
A: Child marriage has severe consequences for young girls, including increased health risks, limited access to education, and a perpetuation of poverty.

Q: What is being done to address child marriage in Yemen?
A: Efforts to combat child marriage in Yemen include education initiatives, public awareness campaigns, stronger legal frameworks, and international support and pressure.

Q: How can individuals help address child marriage in Yemen?
A: Individuals can support organizations working on the ground in Yemen, advocate for policy change, and donate to initiatives that provide education and support for young girls at risk of child marriage.

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Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18

That is 23 girls every minute

Nearly 1 every 2 seconds

 
 
 

 

 

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