UNICEF reports today that there has been a significant drop in the number of child marriages worldwide. They estimate that 25 million child marriages have been prevented in the last decade, with South Asian countries seeing the biggest decrease.

Kara Apland, Senior Researcher at Coram International said: “The reduction in child marriage is a welcome development, which suggests progress towards the improved protection and empowerment of young women and girls. As noted by UNICEF, significant work remains to be done on the issue, which still affects around 20% of girls worldwide.

“In addition to legislating to prevent child marriage, and campaigning to change attitudes, future efforts should focus on addressing underlying drivers of child marriage, such as through improving girls’ access to educational opportunities, supporting them to obtain economic independence, and targeting discriminatory gender norms.”

In 2014 and 2015, Coram International and Plan International undertook a research study in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, as part of the Asia Child Marriage Initiative (ACMI). The research gathers in-depth and detailed evidence on the root causes of child marriage practices, exploring social attitudes, values and norms and identifying the structural and environmental factors which influence them.

You can read the full report ‘Getting the Evidence: Asia Child Marriage Initiative’ here and a summary version is available here.