Updated: Nov 24
Writer: Servan Tutşi
Although people in more developed countries may not see it in practice as often, child marriage is a widespread form of human rights violation in most of the developing and less developed countries. 21% of women globally were married before they were 18, and this number goes up to 76% in Niger’s case (UNICEF, 2019). There have been improvements over the last decades; however, as Covid-19 puts 10 million additional children at risk of marriage(UNICEF 2021), the need for policies that are not just effective in the short run but also robust to socio-economic shocks ─ such as pandemics, recessions, and droughts─ is evident. Prohibitions of child marriage and calls to stop the practice by the governments do not necessarily work out. First, prohibitions do not address the causes of the problem; they merely punish the doer for the deed. Second, in countries where the practice is widespread, states are generally not capable of tracking this activity. So, to address this problem, we must look for more sustainable solutions, and the improvement of economic institutions might be the answer.