Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August, child marriages have reportedly been on the rise.
Rangita de Silva de Alwis, senior adjunct professor of global leadership and associate dean of international affairs at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, discusses why there has been an increase in marriages of underage girls in Afghanistan, and what could be done to improve girls’ lives.
“Even before the Taliban takeover, 33% of girls in Afghanistan were married before the age of 18, which is the internationally accepted age of majority,” she says. “This is a crisis that has been ongoing. Ever since the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an increase in child marriages around the world.”
Economic collapse is a driving factor, but not the only one.
“There is the financial aspect, where girls have become commodities and are used as barter by families in an environment where economic security is at peril. Poverty is a driver of forced marriage,” says de Silva de Alwis.
“But child marriage is not just an economic issue. There is a second pillar for this. The impending economic crisis and political conflict have created a fear of violence against girls, and girls are being forced into marriage by their families as a way of protecting a girl and a way of saving a family’s so-called honor.”
Read more at Penn Law News.