Addressing child marriage and adolescent pregnancy as barriers to gender parity and equality in education

Document Type

Article (peer-reviewed)

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A girl's success in school—and after leaving school—is determined in part by the characteristics of and factors in her household and community. Many policies and programmes are based on an assumption that early marriage and adolescent pregnancy hamper continued progress toward gender equality in education. While education and age at marriage and pregnancy are positively correlated in many settings, evidence of a causal relationship is more limited. This review focuses on recent trends in policies and programmes on child marriage and adolescent pregnancy, and their effects on gender equality in education globally. It includes case studies from four countries—Bangladesh, Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Kenya—that shed light on the shared underlying factors that drive adolescent girls’ risk of child marriage, pregnancy, and premature school leaving. It is clear that decisions about schooling and transitions to adulthood are so closely related that policies and programmes seeking to address any of these outcomes should incorporate all of them.