This brief provides an overview of child marriage as well as the particulars of child marriage in Mali. Mali is home to 11.6 million people, with 47 percent of its population under age 15. Approximately 73 percent of the population live on less than US$1 a day, and life expectancy is 45 years. Mali has one of the most severe crises of child marriage in the world today. The legal age of marriage is 18 for girls and 21 for boys, but girls may be married as early as age 15 with parental consent. For civil marriages, the law dictates that prospective spouses discuss and agree on whether their union will be polygynous or monogamous; however, a woman’s say in the matter is minimal given her limited options. The payment of bride price is recognized by law, promoting the perception that wives are the property of husbands. In addition, female genital circumcision affects nearly all Malian women, with 61 percent of circumcisions occurring before age 5. Included in this brief are recommendations to promote later, chosen, and legal marriage.
"Child marriage briefing: Mali." New York: Population Council, 2005.