The Causes, Current Situation and Socio-economic Consequences of Early Marriage: The Case of Nyagatom Community

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Addis Ababa University


This study has examined the causes, current situation and socio-economic consequences of early marriage in Nyagatom community. Specifically, it initially examined the fundamental causes, then it looked in to the current situation of early marriage and finally it explored the socio-economic consequences of early marriage. In this regard, the study revealed that it is difficult to conclude the exact socio-economic effects of early marriage exactly as social or economic; however, the current situation, major causes and socio-economic effects of early marriage in the study area is explored. Nonetheless, with a specific reference to this section, three major points are concluded about all the issue of early marriage in the study area. Firstly, the current situation of early marriage was assessed and in that many of the people of Nyagatom community have low level of awareness about the harmful effects of early marriage practices. Currently, it is found that they mostly practice an intermediate form of early marriage. The study revealed that the community assembles forceful marriages because of exclusive economic motive of getting a dowry. It is also observed that early marriage for parents is seen as means of wealth accumulation. In spite of this, the study examined that early marriage is also practiced for reasons of different cultures. In this regard, the current situation of abut traditional marriages in the study area is generally defined in its extremely twined nature to the socio-economic life of the people of Nyagatom community. Though some parents of early married women improved their life, due to the culture of early marriage, young girls are being victimized by the negative effects for many years. Hence, it is observed that the effects of traditional early marriages and early marriage in particular still demand further studies in the community. Generally, the culture of early marriage for Nyagatom community is more than just a culture but it is their social, cultural and economic destination too. Secondly, the study has revealed that the particular socio-economic reasons for early marriage. In this regard, it is concluded that early married young children are being exchanged for fundamental economic interests of their parents (of getting large number of cattle, goats, sheep and safety machines), accumulate extra wealth and to escape from poor economic situations. It is also examined that a dowry is highly deserved by both the poor and rich parents of early married women. In turn it resulted in worsening the holistic situation of early married child wives in the study area. Next to these unlimited economic interests, early and forceful marriages are also set for socio-cultural reasons which are followed by economic pretexts. Beside these, frequent conflict is also another rational which made young girls to be seen as means for safety of their parent’s life; however, this in turn violates their freedom to choose the right to live whom they love at the right time. Illiteracy and the need to get social protection are also explored as social reasons too. At the end, the study explored the vital socio-economic consequences of early marriage over early married children in the study area. In this regard, because of the people’s strong socioeconomic tie with the culture of early marriage, child wives are being exposed for frequent domestic violence and sexual aggressions as they are exchanged for huge dowries for parents. Extreme inside and outside home work loads, continuous school dropouts and high potential of the risk of HIV/AIDS and STDs are also confirmed as social consequences of early marriage. However, issues related to prostitution, fistula, divorce and migration are investigated as not the consequences of early marriage in nyagatom community. Economically, the practice of early marriage is contributed to economic discomforts in the families of child wives. Hence, excess numbers of children per family, unfair property inheritance (ownership) and passive economic enrolment of early married children are explored as hurtful economic effects. In general the current study has examined diversified contexts of early marriage in Nyagatom community where young girls of the area have been suffering from early marriage and it can be concluded that economically next to their cattle; parents of Nyagatom community are extremely dependent up on their daughters as survival options.



Social Work