Impact of Extreme Weather on CEFM

A recent study published in the journal International Social Work reveals that extreme weather events contribute to the increase in child, early, and forced marriage (CEFM) in low- and middle-income countries. The study, led by researchers from Ohio State University, establishes a connection between elements of structural oppression like gender inequality and poverty, exacerbated by extreme weather, leading to gender-based violence and inequities.

CEFM – an adaptive strategy during extreme weather conditions

CEFM serves as a means of reducing economic vulnerabilities. Instances from countries like Bangladesh and Kenya reveal that marrying off daughters early can alleviate economic and food burdens on households facing disaster-related challenges.

Cultural Practices and their Impact on CEFM and Extreme Weather Connection

The study finds that cultural practices such as bride price and dowry impact CEFM trends during extreme weather. In regions where the groom’s family pays a bride price, CEFM increases during droughts and rainfall shocks. Conversely, in regions where dowry is common, such as India, girls are less likely to be married during droughts due to the inability to afford dowry payments.

Cultural Practices’ Role in CEFM and Extreme Weather Link

Extreme weather events worsen gender-based violence and inequities, reinforcing gender inequalities. CEFM can exacerbate the vulnerability of girls and women during such circumstances, highlighting the urgent need to address these issues to ensure gender equality.

Countering Child Marriage through Education and Empowerment

Education and financial control play a pivotal role in empowering women and girls to make independent decisions. Research indicates that CEFM decreases as parental education increases, emphasizing the importance of education in breaking the cycle of child marriage.

Global Agreements Addressing Child Marriage

Some of the international agreements that cover the rights to protection from child marriage and aim to combat this practice are as follows:

  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
  • Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages

Healthcare Professionals and Social Workers’ Role

The study underscores the significance of health professionals and social workers comprehending the intricate interplay between child marriage and extreme weather. As climate change is poised to exacerbate these challenges, these professionals must be prepared to tackle the consequences of extreme weather on gender inequalities and child marriage.



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