Child Marriage

Based on the religious structure that governs Iran, puberty and the beginning of the first menstruation in girls are considered as the threshold of transition from childhood to adulthood. Reaching this physical and biological threshold means a person’s suitability and eligibility for marriage.Regardless of the real age and ability to manage marital life in some developing countries early marriage is considered an economic measure that can improve the economic status of the family. Although the title of child marriage is assigned to both sides of marriage, i.e. young girls and boys, but the bitter reality of the society shows that the consequences and effects of child marriage are much more serious and dangerous for the girls.

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FAQ About Child Marriage

  • What is the legal age of marriage in Iran? The Islamic religion has not specified an age requirement for marriage, but considers the age of religious maturity to be fifteen lunar years for boys and nine lunar years for girls, and believes that puberty provides them for marriage. According to Article 1041 of the Civil Code, ‘the marriage of a girl before the age of 13 and the boy before the age of 15 is subject to the permission of the guardian, provided that the best interests are determined by the competent court.’ However, it has commonly been observed that girls are married at the age of nine.
  • What is child marriage or early marriage? According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), child marriage is a formal or informal marriage in which a person enters into a marital contract before the age of 18, generally the term “child marriage” applies to the children of a girl who marries older men for coercion from ethnic traditions or family economic problems, although the number of girls who marry boys who are a few years older is not low.
  • What are the consequences of child marriage? Marrying at a young age has adverse effects on the psychological development of children, especially girls. Most of the child spouses have a weak socio-economic origin and the marriage bond is a transaction between them for the families to manage and eliminate a ‘bread-eating’ member of the family through such measures as asking the man to pay for the girl and their minimum financial support is realized. Marrying at a young age has consequences such as the following: dropping out of school, shortening the childhood period, bearing the burden of marriage at a young age with minimal experience, getting involved in everyday tensions as a result of the lack of emotional maturity and lack of interaction skills, remaining under the involvement of others, lack of experience for the responsibility of motherhood, the possibility of experiencing sexual violence, early pregnancy, death during childbirth due to lack of biological development, despair and hopelessness due to the dominance of others over life affairs, the regret of the parties after gaining a better understanding of each other and the social world, becoming a widow at an early age, and many others.
  • What are the solutions to prevent child marriage? Changing the legal age of marriage to 18 years, amending the laws of temporary marriage, cultural and educational measures and enlightenment, mandatory and accurate registration of marriages, serious accountability of the government and coordination of related organizations to deal with child marriage, compulsory and free education especially in deprived areas, increasing awareness of the consequences and harms of child marriage through mass media and communication technologies, judicial and legal support from the judiciary to outlaw child marriage and determine heavy punishments for its practitioners, and finally using spiritual and religious figures as the most influential missionaries of social changes in this field.

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