According to the latest statistics released by the Statistics Center for the spring of this year, the number of marriages of girls aged 10 to 14 in the spring of 1400 increased by about 32% compared to the same statistics in the spring of last year to 9753 marriages. On the other hand, this seasonal marriage statistic for this age group of girls shows the highest number in the last two years according to similar seasonal statistics.
According to the same statistic, 45,522 girls aged 15 to 19 also got married in the spring of 1400, while this statistic is only related to officially registered marriages in the Civil Registration Organization of Iran.
On the other hand, according to the mentioned statistics, the marriage of six boys under 15 years old and 6573 boys aged 15 to 19 years old has been registered in the spring of 1400.
In the meantime, however, the lack of attention of the authorities to the phenomenon of “spouse child” did not end in child marriage, and according to statistics, this phenomenon has expanded and is manifesting itself in the form of “mother child”, “father child” and “divorced child”. Is.
Also during the first six months of 2021 (1400 Iranian Calendar) , six provinces of Baluchistan and Sistan, Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan), Khorasan Razavi, Golestan, Kerman and East Azerbaijan are the provinces in which the highest birth rate of children from mothers aged 10 to 14 years has been recorded.
In fact, Balochistan and Sistan registered 2 births from 10-year-old mothers, 2 births from 11-year-old mothers, 9 births from 12-year-old mothers, 37 births from 13-year-old mothers and 182 births from 14-year-old mothers, and a total of 232 births from 10 mothers. Up to 14 years, it is the first province in which during the first six months of this year, the most births were registered from mothers aged 10 to 14.
The mentioned statistics on the number of registered births of mothers under 15 years of age during the first six months of this year show that in all provinces of the country except Baluchistan and Sistan, Khuzestan, Khorasan Razavi, Golestan, Kerman, East Azerbaijan, Hormozgan, West Azerbaijan, Mazandaran , Isfahan, Hamedan and Semnan, the age of mothers at the time of childbirth in this period was 13 and 14 years.
According to the Civil Registry Office of Iran, these figures are preliminary statistics and may change in future reviews. So far, Baluchistan and Sistan have produced 290 children from mothers aged 10 to 14 and 6878 children from mothers aged 15 to 19 during the period (six). April of this year to November 28 of this year) is at the top of this statistic.
Child Marriage in Iran: A contentious and complex issue in Iran, child marriage has been prevalent since pre-revolutionary times. While the female population today is marrying slightly later on average than in the past, the practice persists and there are signs that the number of very young child brides is on the rise again. Unfortunately, statistics on the number of girls who are marrying under the age of 18 are incomplete since many rural marriages, while occurring in traditional Islamic ceremonies, are often held in secret and are not officially recorded. It is extremely challenging to combat child marriage when clerics, imams and other key religious fi gures do not protest the practice. According to a 2010 report, the number of child brides under the age of 10 in Iran had actually doubled over the previous three years. The report also cited 2010 fi gures which showed that 42,000 marriages involved girls between the ages of 10 and 14. And the number of marriages for girls aged 10 to 15 could be even higher in reality, as only some 55 percent of child marriages are registered in cities and 45 percent in villages. Girls from varying economic backgrounds and geographic locations are affected by child marriage in Iran. However, as in many other countries in the region and world where child marriage is common, girls in poorer, more rural areas of Iran like Sistan and Baluchistan Province are most likely to be married off before they reach adulthood. Policy Overview The Policy Context: Child marriage law in Iran has changed many times over the last century. Before the 1979 Iranian revolution, the legal age of marriage for boys and girls was 18 and 16, respectively. Shortly after the revolution, the age of marriage for girls was lowered to nine subject to competent approval and ‘physical maturity’. Then in 2003, female parliamentarians successfully pushed through legislation that raised the legal age of marriage for girls to 13. Another source claimed that in 2010 the age was again raised back to 16 for girls and 18 for boys. According to available information, under state law, a man who marries a girl who is 13 or younger must serve a sentence ranging from two to three years. Punishing those violating child marriage laws is extremely challenging in the Iranian context, in large part due to pervasive, centuries-old traditions bound to religious belief that are practiced in poor, rural areas of the country. While Fathers permission is compulsory for the fi rst marriage, girls can approach the court for permission to avoid father’s permission. Such traditions that fuel child marriage in Iran include the practice of “temporary marriages” for which men pay a family to take a girl on as his short-term “bride’’. Registration is legally required for these transactions, which often occur covertly, making it diffi cult to track or determine the number of young girls it affects. Protecting a girl’s “honor” and hence that of her family, is another driver of child marriage in Iran. In some instances, girls are married off to honor a familial connection or to continue a tradition of marrying distant relatives. Fathers also marry off their daughters in order to settle debts. There was a spike in these debt repayments during a prolonged and punishing period of drought that culminated in 2002, and as a result young girls were forced to marry much older men. In some instances girls are also sold into marriage or “traffi cked” in exchange for money. The Consequences: Like girls everywhere who are married young, Iranian child brides are vulnerable to a variety of problems related to pregnancy and childbirth, including permanent, debilitating injury and death. One study shows that women between the ages of 15 and 19 are twice as likely to die in childbirth as women in their 20s, and babies born to teenage mothers are more likely to have a low birth weight of less than 2.5 kilos. In Iran – with the number of very young child brides again on the rise – the health risks are even more severe. Child marriage in Iran also makes girls highly vulnerable to domestic violence. Upon marriage, a bride leaves her family’s home to live with her in-laws. If a young girl attempts to return home to live with her family, she is subject to abuse from both her natal family and that of her husband, and is often accused of being promiscuous or impure. In some instances, particularly in Arab tribal communities these actions can lead to “honor killings,” where the child bride is murdered in order to restore the integrity of both families. Like many places where child marriage is common, girls lose access to education after marriage so that they can take on household chores and have children. Early marriage also deprives girls of valuable and necessary skills required to enter the labour market, denying her the opportunity to help lift herself and her family out of poverty.
In 2003, Iran passed a legislation to discourage early marriage by increasing the minimum age of marriage for girls. Despite these efforts, 13 years – and even 16 for that matter – is still an alarmingly young age to marry. Clearly, much more needs to be done to prevent child marriage in Iran, from strengthening and enforcing laws, to sponsoring largescale awareness campaigns to curb the harmful prevalence of child marriage in Iran. The following concrete steps are therefore recommended: Strengthen and enforce child marriage laws: Increasing the legal age of marriage for both boys and girls, and outlawing harmful and unjust practices such as “temporary marriages” is very important. Training law enforcement officials on the dangers of child marriage and their duty to enforce laws regulating it is highly recommended as an important fi rst step towards reducing the prevalence of child marriage. It is also strongly advised that efforts to communicate the details of the laws and the punishments for breaking them to the public at large are made through a public education and/or awareness-raising campaign to help deter the practice. A better-informed population and better-equipped police able to monitor and enforce the practice would mean progress towards curbing child marriage in rural areas where centuries-old tradition and poverty prevail. Launch a large-scale awareness-raising campaign: Smart and strategic awareness-raising campaigns in other countries where child marriage is prevalent appear to be an effective way to reach local populations. Government efforts could benefit from launching such a campaign, tapping into media and using other communication strategies that will reach a great number of girls – and importantly, boys with messages about the adverse health and other negative consequences of child marriage. Community leaders and civil society organisations also need to become engaged in advocating against this practice in order to bring about change and therefore training programmes for them are advised. Equally, awareness trainings for university students, religious leaders, village elders, parents and members of local and national government are critical to any strategy to change deep-rooted harmful traditional practices like child marriage. Invest in girls’ education in poorer, rural areas: Education remains an important factor in increasing the age of first marriage. Laws implemented during the Islamic Revolution to ensure that boys and girls attend school through primary education have increased the literacy rate of young people to 95 percent. Women now comprise 60 percent of university students in Iran. Turning attention to poorer, rural girls with efforts to ensure that they continue onto secondary school are now needed. According to a study conducted in 2006, girls who begin secondary education often do not get married before they complete their graduation. Heed international recommendations: It is recommended that the Government of Iran should review some of the recommendation from the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development. Among many issues addressing women’s development, the conference participants noted that addressing just one factor alone, such as education, will not solve a social problem like early marriage. Rather, civil society, communities and government actors need to look at all of the factors that are limiting women’s development and respond accordingly with an integrated approach, including interventions at the community level and strengthened national policies.