We all know about the child marriage problem in India, and while the laws have changed leaps and bounds to prevent it from happening, it is still largely prevalent in some parts of the country. If we take a look at the world though, we find a whole different story, with the minimum marriage age ranging from 22 in China to 12 in some states of USA. How the laws are enforced is a whole different story however.
Here are the minimum marriage ages of some countries around the world.
1.India: 18 for women, 21 for men
While the laws exist, they're pretty much just on paper. It is common knowledge that child marriage is still highly prevalent in the country, with dowry and marriages of convenience taking place often.
2. China: 22 for men, 20 for women
If you go further down this list, you'll notice that the Chinese actually have one of the highest minimum ages to get married.
3. Niger: 18 for men, 15 for women
With the direct approval of parents, women can be married at the age of 15. According to studies, 76% of the girls here are married off before their 18th birthday.
4. Massachussetts, USA: 12 for women, 14 for men
The age here is very low, but the marriage is only allowed in exceptional cases, with the consent of the parents and the presence of a judge.
5. Estonia: 15
Estonia has the lowest marriage age in Europe ever since the Spanish raised theirs from 14 to 16.
6. Saudi Arabia: No minimum age
Despite constant efforts, the top authorities have consistently opposed imposing a minimum age for marriage, especially the top religious leaders (surprise surprise).
7. Palestine: 16 for men, 15 for women
There needs to be parental consent however. It is in line with Jordanian law, but forced marriages are also common.
8. Pakistan: 18 for men, 16 for women
While the law to stop child marriage exists, a report by UNICEF claims that over 70% of girls in Pakistan are married before the age of 16.
9. Venezuela: 14 for males, 16 for females
It needs to have parental consent however. Otherwise the age is 18.
10. France: 15
If there is consent from one of the parents, then girls can marry at the age of 15, even though the minimum age is 18. The French are planning to get rid of this age concession though.
11. Germany: 16
If you get permission from the parents as well as the court, then you can get married at the age of 16. Otherwise it's 18. Why are people so desperate to get married though?
12. Bangladesh: 21 for males, 18 for females
Despite the laws, every 2 out of 3 marriages in Bangladesh is said to be a child marriage. It has one of the highest child marriage rates in the world.