This brief provides an overview of child marriage as well as the particulars of child marriage in Zambia. This landlocked southern African nation is home to 10.9 million people, with 47 percent of its population under age 15. Zambia is one of the poorest countries in the world; nearly two out of three Zambians live on less than US$1 a day. The country’s economic growth was hindered by declining copper prices and a prolonged drought in the 1980s and 1990s. More recently, the AIDS epidemic has taken a devastating toll: 920,000 adults and children are living with HIV/AIDS, and 630,000 children have been orphaned because of the disease. Child marriage is widespread in Zambia, even though the legal age of marriage is 21 for both males and females. Customary law and practice discriminate against girls and women with respect to inheritance, property, and divorce rights. Domestic violence is a serious problem, with over half of married girls reporting ever experiencing physical violence and more than a third reporting abuse in the past year. Included in this brief are recommendations to promote later, chosen, and legal marriage.
"Child marriage briefing: Zambia." New York: Population Council, 2005.