The causes and consequences of early marriage in the Amhara region of Ethiopia

Bogalech Alemu, Pathfinder International
Jennifer Wilder, Pathfinder International

Pathfinder International supported a cross-sectional community-based study of both quantitative and qualitative information on the practice of early marriage in the Amhara region of Ethiopia and to examine is causes and consequences. All eligible females aged 12-49 in 1,700 households were interviewed using a structured questionnaire, which was followed by focus group discussions and interviews with key informants. The resulting data offer significant insight into the reasons why families continue to marry their daughters before the age of 18. Further, valuable data confirms a complex set of negative consequences, including marriage instability and divorce, poor health among women, larger families, lower educational achievement, negative impact on children of early marriages, and the reinforcing of women’s inequality. Probing questions have isolated many of the influences that continue to make fathers and mothers adamant about the need to get their daughters married, in opposition to new laws and public policy.

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Presented in Poster Session 3