The Disadvantages of Early Marriage for Women

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In many cultures throughout the world, arranged marriages are still a common tradition. While arranged marriages are often viewed negatively in the Western world, it is even more disturbing to know that children are becoming brides to adult men, sometimes older than the girl's own father. Being married at such a young age, especially for children, leads to many disadvantages in a young girl's life.

Responsibility

  • When women become married at a young age, responsibility is expected. Between household duties, wifely commitments and child rearing, keeping up may prove difficult, particularly when it's an arranged marriage involving a female child. After marriage, it's also unlikely that an adult will be around enough to help or guide the young female in all that she does as a parent and wife. In countries where adult men are permitted to marry children, young women are often forced to move in with their new husbands, leaving behind their family.

Maturity

  • Responsibilities of being a wife and parent require a level of maturity that a young woman, and especially a child, may not be able to provide. Not to mention, a young lady is missing out on her youth when having to deal with adult duties. Women who marry at a young age may find it difficult to follow their original dreams and aspirations when faced with the responsibility of taking care of their home and family. Young women who are forced into arranged marriages often lose all rights and the ability to decide how their life plays out. Many of these women also have no say in how many children they have, as well as when they become pregnant.

Education Deprivation

  • Because being a wife and parent requires time as well as energy, many young women drop out of school and ultimately lose out on achieving higher education. As a result, it becomes difficult to attain a high-paying job. In arranged marriages, some young women are forced to drop out of school. Not only does this disrupt a woman or child's social circle that she may have had at school, it also eliminates any other source of support she may have had for her mental and emotional well-being.

Health Effects

  • Women who become pregnant or engage in sexual activities at a young age may end up with physical health problems. One physical problem in particular is an obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistulas typically affect young girls and women in resource-poor areas that have little or no access to hospitals and high-quality health care. Fistulas, as a result of childbirth, result in no bowel or urine control. There are two types of obstetric fistulas; the vesico-vaginal fistula is a hole between the vagina and bladder and the recto-vaginal fistula, which is a hole between the vagina and rectum. Those with smaller pelvic area, such as young women, have trouble delivering vaginally and a fistula could result. According to the International Women's Health Program, young brides are pressured to have children very soon after eloping. Because of this, the use of condoms is unlikely and a woman is more prone to contracting an sexually transmitted diseases and the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. Cervical cancer also becomes a risk.

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