Legal Age of Marriage for Males and Females in Different Countries

“But even if the law exists, there are a number of reasons why they can be undermined. Pluralistic legal systems may give primacy to customary or religious law over national law, exceptions may be granted with parental consent or court approval, and law enforcement officials may be poorly trained or unaware of the minimum age for marriage. However, any marriage under the age of 20 in Japan requires parental consent. To capture the legal provisions shaping child marriage around the world, we created a database for 193 United Nations (UN) Member States. 1 We constructed variables for the minimum age of marriage and exceptions that allow marriage at a lower age under certain conditions. We conducted a systematic review of the legislation that began in June 2013 via the countries` official websites, the Lexadin World Law Guide, the Foreign Law Guide, the International Labour Organization (ILO) NATLEX database, the Pacific Islands Institute of Legal Information, the Asian Institute for Legal Information, JaFBase and libraries such as the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law, the University of California, Los Angeles Law Library, Harvard Law School Library, and Northwestern University Library. Where legislation was not available from these sources, analysts reviewed country reports and concluding comments of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. In Late Antiquity, most Roman women married in their late teens until their early twenties, but noble women married younger than those in the lower classes, as an aristocratic virgin was supposed to be a virgin until her first marriage. [5] In Late Antiquity, under Roman law, daughters inherited equal shares from their parents if no will was made. [9]:63 Moreover, Roman law recognized women`s property as legally distinct from husbands` property,[9]:133-154 as did some legal systems in parts of Europe and colonial Latin America. For young girls, child marriage often leads to the interruption or termination of their education (Clark, Bruce & Dude, 2006; Feld and Ambrus, 2008; Lloyd und Mensch, 2008; UNICEF, 2014). Social norms, family expectations and, in some cases, legal restrictions force girls to complete their education after marriage (Jain & Kurz, 2007; Jensen & Thornton, 2003; Mensch, 2005). In addition, girls are often expected to take on household chores and family responsibilities, which can make school attendance impossible.

Limiting girls` education has lifelong and intergenerational effects on women`s earning potential and financial independence (Vogelstein 2013), as well as on their children`s health and educational outcomes (Gakidou et al. 2010; Sekhri and Debnath, 2014). In particular, data based on national data have shown that increased educational attainment among women of reproductive age is associated with lower infant mortality rates (Gakidou et al. 2010). Research using household survey data in India from 2005 showed that delaying a mother`s age of marriage by one year increased the likelihood that her child would be able to perform demanding numeracy and reading tasks, an association that the authors suspect is likely mediated by mothers` increased schooling due to later marriage (Sekhri and Debnath 2014). In Niger, where the legal age to marry is 15, 76% of girls are believed to be married before their 18th birthday. The bill has been criticized by the opposition, women`s rights activists and organizations who say the law is a violation of women`s personal freedom and does not work at the local level to address the root cause of early marriage. The reaction would have reconsidered the bill. In addition to these civil law rules, there are parallel systems of customary and/or religious law in many countries in addition to civil law. These laws often do not set a minimum age for marriage or do not set it at an age lower than civil law provisions, creating loopholes that allow children of certain religious and ethnic communities to marry at a much younger age. This variable is defined as the lowest minimum age in customary and/or religious law, where such laws exist, or the general minimum age of marriage for countries where there is no customary and/or religious exception. Child marriage under the age of 18 is widely recognized in international human rights treaties as a discriminatory global practice that hinders the development and well-being of hundreds of millions of girls.

Using a new global policy database, we analyze national legislation regarding the minimum age of marriage, exceptions allowing marriage in previous years, and gender differences in laws. Although our longitudinal data indicate an improvement in the incidence of countries with laws prohibiting marriage before the age of 18, significant gaps remain in the elimination of legal exceptions and gender-based discrimination. In the Roman Empire, Emperor Augustus introduced legislation on marriage, which rewarded the Lex Papia Poppaea, marriage and having children. The legislation also provides for penalties for young people who do not marry and for those who have committed adultery. Therefore, marriage and having children between the ages of twenty-five and sixty became law for men and twenty and fifty for women. [2] Women who were virgin vestal virgins were selected between the ages of 6 and 10 to serve as priestesses in the temple of the goddess Vesta in the Roman Forum for 30 years, after which they could marry. [3] After the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the rise of the Holy Roman Empire, land ownership also contributed to weakening kinship ties and thus clan power; As early as the 9th century, in the northwest of France, there were small families working on estates, consisting of parents and children and sometimes a grandparent. The Roman Catholic Church and the state had become allies in order to extinguish the solidarity and thus the political power of the clans; The Church sought to replace traditional religion, the vehicle of which was the kinship group, and to replace the authority of the elders of the kinship group with that of a former religious; At the same time, the king`s rule was undermined by the uprisings of the most powerful groups, clans or sections of kinship, whose conspiracies and murders threatened the power of the state and also the demands of the landowners for obedient and docile workers. [11] Since peasants and serfs lived and worked on farms they had rented from the landlord, they also needed the landlord`s permission to marry.

Couples therefore had to submit to the owner and wait for a small farm to become available before they could marry and therefore have children; Those who could delay the wedding and did so were probably rewarded by the owner, and those who did were probably denied this reward. [12] For example, in medieval England, the age of marriage varied according to economic circumstances, with couples delaying marriage until their early twenties when times were tough, but able to marry in their late teens after the Black Death when there was a severe shortage of labor; [13]: 96 Apparently, teen marriage was not the norm in England. [13]: 98-100 Muslims are allowed to marry at 16 for men and 12 for girls, and Hindus at 18 and 14. The age of Muslim marriages is shown in the table. In Sri Lanka, while the marriageable age for non-Muslim women was 18, the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) allowed child marriage by not setting a minimum age, preventing them from signing their own marriage contract, subjecting them to forced marriage. 1.This database can be explored in more detail on our website: Catholic canon law adopted Roman law, which set the minimum age of marriage at 12 for women and 14 for men. The Roman Catholic Church raised the minimum age of marriage to 14 for women and 16 for men in 1917, and lowered the age of majority to 18 in 1983.

Due to the relatively unequal status of married women as girls in their marriage, there may be additional health effects. Power differences related to age differences can prevent girls from negotiating with their husbands and exercising control over their bodies and sexual and reproductive health. Partly because of this limited control and lack of information about options and pressures to have children, early marriage has been associated with lower contraceptive use (Godha, Hotchkiss, & Gage, 2013; Mensch, 2005; Nour, 2006; Raj et al.