• Live
    • Audio Only
  • google plus
  • facebook
  • twitter
News > Latin America

In Mexico, Alarming Number of Young Girls Forced to Marry

  • Women protest femicide and gender violence.

    Women protest femicide and gender violence. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 May 2017

Nearly 25,000 girls aged between 12 and 14 are living in "early unions."

Hundreds of thousands of young girls in Mexico are being forced into marriages with older men, a new report reveals.

In Uruguay, Women Rejoice as Femicide Bill Is Approved

The report, conducted by Mexico’s Research in Health and Demography, INSAD, states that 83 percent of married girls had left school, while a staggering 92 percent of those who left school are living informally with a man. And only 15 percent of Mexican girls who dropped out of school were not in such relationships.

Funded by the Ford Foundation, the report also found that out of about 320,000 Mexican girls between the ages of 12 and 17 who are cohabiting, about 70 percent are with a partner who is at least 11 years older to them. Moreover, nearly 25,000 girls aged between 12 and 14 are living in "early unions."

The report used data from national household surveys conducted in 2015 and researched girls across several age groups who were either married or living with a partner. Between 65 to 69 percent of the girls were at least 11 years younger while less that a fifth were with a partner who was five or fewer years older.

The report comes weeks after the OAS General-Secretary Luis Almagro pledged to tackle the issue of child marriage in Latin America.

“With one in five girls married or living in informal unions before the age of 18, we are losing entire generations to poverty, discrimination and violence,” Almagro said. Almagro, however, has not laid out specific plans to address the issue.

In 2014, Mexico introduced a law setting the minimum age of marriage to 18 years of age for both men and women. But many states fail to comply with the law as some areas still accept the age of marriage as 14 for women and 16 for men.

‘Break the Silence’: Colombia Women Protest Rising Femicide

Eighty-one percent of marriages involving girls between 12 and 17 years old are not legally recognized across Mexico, according to INSAD.

“Early unions are highly prevalent and still normalized in many areas of Mexico,” Estela Rivero, one of the report’s co-authors, told The Guardian.

“The government must guarantee all women have access to education beyond secondary level and that girls and their families are motivated to continue with schooling.”

In Mexico, 10 percent of girls are impacted with forced early unions, but according to a report titled "Girls Not Brides," Mexico ranks eighth worldwide in the number of women who are forced into early marriages. The report also debunked the assumption that girls in Mexico marry young because of pregnancy.

“Many girls enter unions not just because they are pregnant but for other reasons,” the report said.

Child marriage is often seen as a way to escape poverty or as a means of acquiring status and security.

Heather Hamilton, deputy executive director for the charity Girls Not Brides, told the Guardian, “You have a situation where a girl is perhaps choosing to be in a union, but only because she lacks other options.”

Post with no comments.