The Member of Parliament, (MP), for Afadjato South Constituency, Alorwu-Tay, Angela Oforiwa says child marriage adversely impacts the well-being of the girl child and can have inter-generational dimensions. She has therefore called on her colleagues to rise together in the fight against child marriage.
The MP, said in April 2017, a study conducted in on child marriage in some selected World Vision Ghana Operational areas and published by the University of Ghana, Centre for Social Policy Studies and the World Vision Ghana revealed that 34.3% of child marriages happen in rural Ghana while 19.4% are urban based.
“Mr. Speaker, 19.4% of this takes place in our urban settlement….Mr. Speaker, the Northern Region has the highest incidence of 38.0% with Greater Accra Region recording the lowest incidence at 17.8%”. She indicated.
Madam Alorwu-Tay, said the three Northern regions recorded the highest incidence of child marriages. This she said was a worrying situation.
“Child marriages continue to affect the young talents who hitherto would have turn out to be great women in our society…Mr. Speaker, the issue of child marriage has become a serious matter that needs special attention not only from the government but also all civil society organizations. The reason being that these early marriages not only affect the health of our young and innocent daughters but also the future human resources of this country.” She said.
The menace of child marriage in this country is deeply rooted in tradition and our discriminatory gender norms. Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF).
Ghana found that parents’ decision to marry off their daughters is often driven by their concern with female sexuality and family honor.
“Poverty exacerbates the problem of child marriage. 41.2 percent of girls from the poorest families are married before 18 as opposed to 11.5 percent of girls from the richest families (Ghana, MICS, 2011)”.
According to UNICEF report on state of the world’s children in 2016 (UNICEF), 21 percent of girls in Ghana are married before they are 18 years, but the rate can be as high as 39 percent in the Northern part of the country.
“Mr. Speaker, the report also indicates that 1 in 5 young women today were married before age 18, compared to 1 in 3 in the early 1990’s. The 2018 UNICEF report on child marriage indicates that that across the globe, the levels of child marriages are highest in Sub Saharan Africa, where 4 in 10 young women were married before 18 years of age.” She said these in a statement on the floor of Parliament.
Story by Edzorna Francis Mensah