Child marriage is a significant concern in some parts of today’s world, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. It can be defined as the marriage of a child under the age of eighteen (UNICEF South Asia, n.d.). Although the problem affects both girls and boys, it has a disproportional impact on females. Currently, there are 650,000,000 child brides in the world (UNICEF Middle East and North Africa, 2018). It means that the problem is acute and should be addressed.
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One can learn about child marriage not only from news articles but also from books, such as I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced. This autobiography tells the story about Nujood, the young woman who was nine years old when her parents arranged her marriage to the man that was three times older than she was (Ali & Minoui, 2010). The book shows that families sell their daughters to older men without the girls’ consent. In the autobiography, Nujood talks about the sexual and physical abuse she experienced during her marriage. The examples from the book reveal the horrific truth about child marriage in the Middle East region and the world.
The problem of child marriage is particularly acute in the Middle East region, as one in five girls is married under the age of fifteen (UNICEF Middle East and North Africa, 2018). Child marriage rates are different within the area, with Iraq and Yemen showing the highest prevalence of the issue. For example, in Yemen, almost 35% of women between 20 and 24 years old were first married between the ages of fifteen and nineteen (UNICEF Middle East and North Africa, 2018). In Iraq, the rates are up to 25%; moreover, 5% of young female adults are first married under the age of fifteen. Oman shows the lowest child rates in the region, approximately 5% and 1% respectively.
Ali, N. & Minoui, D. (2010). I am Nujood, age 10 and divorced. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.
UNICEF Middle East and North Africa. (2018). A profile of child marriage in the Middle East and North Africa. Web.
UNICEF South Asia. (n.d.). Child marriage. Web.