Youth activists Suci, Ria and Holida mounted a campaign against child marriage in their village in Lombok. Now they are planning a film to take their message to villages across Indonesia. Credit: Graham Crouch/Girls Not Brides.
Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.
What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?
5% of boys are married before their 18th birthday.
Indonesia has the seventh highest absolute number of women married or in a union before the age of 18 in the world – 1,781,000.
The prevalence of child marriage in Indonesia varies widely across regions, but it continues to be high in rural areas and the provinces of Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and West Sulawesi where more than a fifth of women aged 20-24 were married before age 18.
UNICEF estimated that child marriage cost Indonesia 171,689,071 Indonesian rupiahs in 2014, which amounted to 1.7% of Indonesia’s Gross Domestic Product.
Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?
Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys.
In Indonesia, child marriage is also exacerbated by:
- Level of education: There is a general assumption that girls do not need to pursue higher education because they would eventually become housewives. Child marriage rates are lower for girls living in houses where the head has completed senior secondary or higher education. A 2016 study shows that completing secondary school can protect girls from marrying early in Indonesia.
- Poverty: Girls living in households with low levels of expenditure and inadequate conditions are more likely to marry early. Families marry off girls as a way to lessen the economic burden of the family.
- Family honour: Studies have shown that marriage is sometimes used as a way to prevent or remedy the stigma associated with female sexual experience outside of marriage and adolescent pregnancy, including through sexual violence.
- Religion: Religion, especially Islam, has been cited as a factor influencing child marriage. A UNICEF study revealed that the Religious Courts were more likely to grant the marriage dispensation to allow child marriage than District Courts (for non-Muslims).
- Gender norms: Social norms which accept child marriage are influential at all socioeconomic levels in Indonesian society. In 2015, nearly one in eight girls who married before the age of 18 were from households with the highest levels of expenditure. A 2019 study revealed that child marriage has declined more among disadvantaged groups than wealthier groups. This indicating that financial security provides only limited protection against child marriage.
Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C): About half of all Indonesian girls aged 11 and younger have undergone a form of FGM. While the link between child marriage and FGM remained underreported and under-researched, FGM is often used to control female sexuality and is regarded as a sign of readiness for marriage.
What has this country committed to?
Indonesia has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
During its Voluntary National Review at the 2017 High Level Political Forum, the government stated that the elimination of child marriage is important in reducing risks to a woman’s health, in protecting her human rights and in preventing maternal mortalities. During its Voluntary National Review at the 2019 High Level Political Forum, the government of Indonesia expressed its commitment to reduce the prevalence of child marriage through the amendment of the Marriage Law, especially concerning the minimum age of marriage, and the development of a national strategy for the prevention of child marriage in 2019.
Indonesia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1984, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.
In 2012, the CEDAW Committee recommended that the government undertake awareness-raising activities throughout the country on the negative effects of child marriage.
In 2014, the Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended Indonesia to amend its legislation to raise the marriage age for girls to 18 years.
During its 2017 Universal Periodic Review, Indonesia accepted recommendations to take all measures necessary to end child marriage.
Indonesia has committed to the ASEAN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Violence against Children (2013), which acknowledges the importance of strengthening ASEAN efforts to protect children from all forms of violence, including early marriage.
In 2019, at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, Indonesia committed to implement strategic policies and campaigns and increase the national and sub-national budgets to end gender-based violence and harmful practices, and to revise the Marriage Law 1974, by increasing the age of first marriage to at least 19 years for both boys and girls.
Indonesia is a Pathfinder country for the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.
What is the government doing to address this at the national level?
During Indonesia’s 2017 Universal Periodic Review, the government announced that it was developing a draft National Action Plan on Eliminating Child Marriage. ￼In February 2020, the National Strategy on the Prevention of Child Marriage (STRANAS PPA) was launched by the Indonesia’ Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas, the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, with the support of UNFPA, UNICEF, the Government of Canada and the Government of Australia.
The National Strategy is a reference document that contains various strategies for preventing child marriage. In its preparation, a series of Focus Group Discussions (FGD), hearings, and public trials were carried out involving various Ministries/Institutions and other relevant agencies.
Indonesia has also reportedly set up several programmes to reduce child, early and forced marriage, through:
- Improving family welfare system and economic resilience.
- Awareness raising on the negative impact of child marriage and its health risks targeting children, religious leaders, communities and parents.
- Free education programmes, including a back-to-school program for prevention of early marriage and dropout children.
- Skills training for the youth.
The Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection has also led the « Stop Child Marriage » Movement – a multi stakeholder collaborative action, with 11 government institutions and 65 women’s and children’s NGOs and media networks, that aims to coordinate policy and cultural changes, and legal protection and enforcement.
The National Strategy for the Elimination of Violence Against Children (2016-2020) highlights key priorities for ending child marriage, including:
- Conducting in-depth analysis into the risks and impacts of child marriage.
- Increasing girls’ access to sexual and reproductive health services and life skills training in areas with high child marriage rates.
- Developing behaviour change strategies to eliminate child marriage and shift social norms.
- Strengthening coordination and linkages between efforts to end gender-based violence and violence against children.
At local level, several policies to prevent and end child marriages have been developed, including village regulations in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Province, Bone-South Sulawesi Province, the Gresik Regent Circular Letter in East Java Province, Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta Province, and the NTB Governor Circular Letter.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs also developed a programme involving the majority of religious leaders so they will not officiate marriages for underage girls.
The revision of the Marriage Law 1974 has generated significant public debate in the last few years. In April 2018 President Jokowi committed to ending child marriage. He said two ministries, the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, were preparing a presidential decree to amend the 1974 Marriage Law. It was amended in September 2019 so that the age of marriage with parental consent for girls is the same as boys at 19 years.
What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?
Previously, the Marriage Law 1974 allowed girls to be married at 16 with parental permission. After a petition was rejected in 2015, such provision was finally declared unconstitutional on the grounds of gender-based discrimination on December 2018 (since the required minimum age for men to marry is 19) by the Indonesia’s Constitutional Court. The review petition was filed by three child bride survivors and their lawyer from the Indonesian Coalition to End Child Marriage (Koalisi 18+).
The Court ordered lawmakers to revise the Marriage Law 1974 in regard to the minimum age for women to marry, within a maximum of three years.
However, it should be noted that parents can also ask religious courts or local officials to authorise marriages of girls even earlier, with no minimum age in such cases.
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Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.