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Mexico

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
4%
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
26%

* Références

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.

Photo credit: Jonathan Hyams | Save the Children

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
4%
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
26%

* Références

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?

26% of girls in Mexico are married before the age of 18 and 4% are married before their 15th birthday.

According to UNICEF, Mexico has the seventh highest absolute number of child brides in the world – 1,479,000.

Child marriage is most prevalent in the Northeast of Mexico and the Sur region.

Though rates of officially registered child marriages have fallen in Mexico, more young girls are being pushed into informal unions, which are now reportedly four times more common than registered marriages. Juntarse – which means “to get together” informally, usually sees a girl and her family agree on a marriage, but paperwork is not filed until much later.

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 Mexico, child marriage is also driven by:

  • Level of education: 50% of women with no education were married or in a union before the age of 18, compared to only 4% who had completed higher education.
  • Traditional customs: Child marriage is most common in rural areas of Mexico, particularly among indigenous groups, including the Chiapas, Guerrero and Veracruz, where customary laws prevail over state legislation.
  • Poverty: 38% of women living in Mexico’s poorest households were married or in a union before the age of 18, compared to 10% of those living in the richest households. A 2016 UN Women study found that 60% of interviewed Mexican women who were married as children lived in poverty at the time.
  • Trafficking: A 2017 study suggests that child marriage is used as a means to traffic young girls into the sex trade in border towns such as Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez.
  • Power dynamics: Most girls aged 12-17 who are in a union are at least six years younger than their partner and 65% are younger by 11 years or more. Even if a girl is involved in decision-making around marriage, she is often marrying someone with far more power and resources.
  • Adolescent pregnancy: Almost half of adolescent girls (aged 12-17) who are married have at least one child. In some communities, child marriage is encouraged to avoid pre-marital sex bringing shame on a family.

What has this country committed to?

Mexico has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The government reiterated commitment to this target during its 2016 and 2018 Voluntary National Reviews at High Level Political Forums, the mechanism through which countries report progress on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mexico co-sponsored the 2017 Human Rights Council resolution recognising the need to address child, early and forced marriage in humanitarian contexts, and the 2014 UN General Assembly resolution on child, early and forced marriage.

Mexico 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 in 1981, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

In November 2015, UN Women, UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNICEF and the Pan America Health Organization launched a regional programme on preventing violence against women and girls in Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico. The programme promotes changes in law to eliminate all exceptions to the minimum age of marriage.

During Mexico’s 2015 review, the UN Child Rights Committee expressed concern about cases of forced child marriage among indigenous girls.

In January 2017 MPs called for a reform to the federal civil code in order to ensure that only those of legal age can marry and that young people are not forced. MPs highlighted that local laws still take precedence over the General Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents in 12 areas of the country, enabling girls aged between 14 and 16 to marry.

In 2015 the Federal Government launched the National Strategy for Prevention of Pregnancy in Adolescents. The strategy aims to reduce teenage pregnancy – a core driver of child marriage – within a human rights and gender equality framework.

What is the government doing to address this at the national level?

In January 2017 MPs called for a reform to the federal civil code in order to ensure that only those of legal age can marry and that young people are not forced. MPs highlighted that local laws still take precedence over the General Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents in 12 areas of the country, enabling girls aged between 14 and 16 to marry.

In 2015 the Federal Government launched the National Strategy for Prevention of Pregnancy in Adolescents. The strategy aims to reduce teenage pregnancy – a core driver of child marriage – within a human rights and gender equality framework.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

The General Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents 2014 establishes 18 years as the minimum age of marriage, but girls can marry at 14 and boys can marry at 16 with parental consent.
However, the age of marriage varies at the state level and is dependent on each state’s legislation.

Source

Gouvernement of Mexico, REPORTE NACIONAL PARA LA REVISIÓN VOLUNTARIA DE MÉXICO EN EL MARCO DEL FORO POLÍTICO DE ALTO NIVEL SOBRE DESARROLLO SOSTENIBLE, 2016, (accessed March 2018)

INSAD, Report on Early Unions Mexico: A National, State and Regional Analysis, 2017, (accessed April 2018)

Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública y UNICEF México, Encuesta Nacional de Niños, Niñas y Mujeres 2015 – Encuesta de Indicadores Múltiples por Conglomerados 2015, Informe Final, 2016, (accessed March 2018)

MVS Noticias, Propone PRI reformas para impeder el matrimonio infantile en Mexico, [website], 2017, (accessed March 2018)

The Malala Fund, In Mexico, Child Marriage Endures in the Shadows, [website], 2017, (accessed March 2018)

UN Child Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of Mexico, 2015, p.10, (accessed May 2018)

UN Women, Matrimonios y uniones tempranas de niñas, 2016, (accessed March 2018)

UN Women Americas and the Caribbean, UN launches regional flagship programme to eradicate child marriage, [website], 2015, (accessed February 2018)

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, (accessed February 2018)

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.