Term Paper in Sociology
Submitted to: Mr. Abraham Diopenes
Submitted by: Nikko B. Fernandez
TTH ( 2:30 – 4:00 )
Early marriage is also known as teen marriage and it is typically defined as the union of two adolescents, joined in marriage from at a young age starting from the age of 14 years old. Until the late 20th century, teen marriage was very common and instrumental in securing a family, continuing a blood lineage and producing offspring for labour. Many factors contribute to teen marriage such as teen pregnancy, religion, security, family and peer pressure, arranged marriage, economic and political reasons, social advancement, and cultural reasons. Studies have shown that teenage married couples are often less advantageous, may come from broken homes, may have little education and work low status jobs in comparison to those that marry after adolescence.
Although a majority of teen marriages suffer from complications and often lead to divorce, some are successful. For example, in India, where teenagers are sometimes forced to marry by arrangement, more than 90% of these marriages will not end in divorce. In the United States, half of teen marriages dissolve within 15 years of the marriage. The rate of teen marriage, however, is decreasing due the many opportunities that are available now that previously were not available before. Presently, teen marriage is not widely accepted in much of the world. Teen marriage is most prevalent in culturally or geographically isolated parts of the world and it is decreasing where education is the focus of the population. Marriage, as a fundamental social and cultural institution and as the most common milieu for bearing and rearing children, profoundly shapes sexual behaviors and practices. It is undeniable that early marriage is a controversial yet hot topic that gets the attention of the professionals across many fields such as economy, psychology and sociology. The age at first marriage variegates across the globe. Being married before the age of 18 has been a social norm in third world countries. The percentage of women being married before age 18 is estimated from 20 to 50 percent in average in developing countries.
But then, developed countries are unlikely to experience the resembling pattern of matrimony. The marital union is normally delayed too long although this practice is believed to bring the most apparent reason for the breakdown in sexual ethics (Orsi, 2001). Out of its wealth and egoistic, western society chooses to marry later in life until they have built a decent maturity in age, education and financial state.
As early marriage is widely practiced in developing countries, a global issue has arisen as to whether early marriage does really hinder self development due to the consequences it brings to young girls. The practice is believed to bring several benefits to some extent. However, the adverse effects it brings can impede the self-development of young adolescences in many aspects including health consequences, character building and education as well as career opportunities.
According to UNICEF's Innocent Research Centre, the "practice of marrying girls at a young age is most common in Sub-Saharan African and South Asia". There are specific parts of West Africa and East Africa and of South Asia where marriages before puberty are not unusual. However, the Centre also notes that marriage shortly after puberty is common among those living traditional lifestyles in the Middle East, North Africa and other parts of Asia. Marriages of female adolescents between sixteen and eighteen are common in parts of Latin America and Eastern Europe. Some are forced into this union, others are simply too young to make an informed decision. Consent is made by somebody else on the child's behalf. The child does not have the opportunity to exercise her right to choose. For this reason, early...
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