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December 8, 2023 8:27 am

Extreme weather events linked to higher child marriage: Study

The Fact News Service
Ohio [US], September 2

One of the negative consequences of catastrophic weather incidents around the world that most people might overlook is an increase in underage marriages.

Researchers at The Ohio State University conducted a systematic review of 20 studies connecting droughts, floods and other extreme weather events to increases in child, early and forced marriages in low- and middle-income countries.

Overall, the studies provide compelling evidence of the problem, said Fiona Doherty, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in social work at Ohio State.It’s not that extreme weather has a direct effect on child marriages, Doherty said.

“What these disasters do is exacerbate existing problems of gender inequality and poverty that lead families to child marriage as a coping mechanism,” she said.

The study was published recently in the journal International Social Work.Globally, one in five girls is married before the age of 18, and in lower- and middle-income countries that number rises to 40%.

Those numbers may grow as climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather events around the world, said study co-author Smitha Rao, assistant professor of social work at Ohio State.

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