Social Base for Combatting Child Marriage
The General Office of East Azerbaijan’s Women and Family Affairs has launched a new programme for combatting the child marriage phenomenon, through which it has begun new interactions with the Education and Training Department so that through holding training classes at school levels, particularly in villages and also through raising the legal age of marriage to fight this problem.
According to article 1041 of the Amendment of some articles of the Civil Code of 1991 and its clause, deems the minimum age of marriage for girls 13 and boys 15. But some parents disregard this law and enter their children into marriage in childhood. This is while many jurists, members of parliament and human rights activists and clergy in Iran have different views about the current law regarding the age of marriage, and believe that some amendments must take place.
Today, figures show that 700 million women in the world got married in childhood and the amendment of marriage laws and their implementation guarantee and also education and correction of customs and cultural beliefs is very necessary.
One of the most important influential factors in child marriages is poverty and economic hardship in many deprived regions due to struggling with poverty and or the intention to reduce a member from the family, child marriages take place. Furthermore marriage for some ethnic groups is seen as a way to strengthen social bonds. In some cases, low income families are willing to in practice sell their child daughters in the name of marriage. Of course the low literacy of the family can also be influential and most families with poor literacy are keener for underage marriages.
Underage marriage in fact has countless social, cultural, mental, individual and economic repercussions particularly for girls. Deprivation of girls from education and lack of blossoming of potential talents, deprivation from job opportunities and learning skills and subsequently increased poverty and also deprivation from social support and advantages as a result of employment, reduction of trust and self-confidence, continuation of financial dependency and lack of vote independence and increased domestic violence and children’s isolation are some of these problems. The pregnancy of these juvenile girls also in practice inflicts serious damages to their sexual and physical health. They are also put under social and mental pressures, because while still a child, they must also play the role of wife and mother. Also early divorce and the existence of disabled children and or children with mental and social damages are some of the negative consequences of these marriages.
It seems that one of the solutions for reducing this phenomenon and its damages is the empowerment of people and cultural promotion. Action must quickly be taken for awareness raising of families and people and reduction of this phenomenon, and utilise the capacities of nongovernmental organizations; meaning local individuals in various regions must be empowered so that they can give people related training. The participation of civil society and NGOs is very necessary in this regard. Furthermore, necessary social base must be created to fight this phenomenon. For example the bringing about of opportunities for girls’ education for poor families, making cities safe and removal of security obstacles where families are forced to accept marrying their little daughters off, culture building and educating families, drawing the approval of religious leaders and the unavoidable necessity for their intervention to solve this problem, swift actions of governmental bodies such as the Welfare Organization and Education and Training Department, social policy setting to access gender justice and change and correct gender based culture.