Helpdesk Report: The Impact of Girls' Education on Early Marriage



A review of the existing evidence on the impact of girls' education on early marriage. It would be useful to have an international review of how strong the evidence base is and any gaps in knowledge. No particular regional focus.


There is a strong association between higher age at marriage and higher education levels. A global analysis of data by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) found that girls' education is 'the most important factor associated with child marriage'. Another study determined that in 29 countries, women who married at the age of 18 or older had more education than those who married at a younger age. Additionally, this report includes many case studies which show that when girls stay in education for longer they are likely to get married at an older age.  There are also details of programmes which have been conducted in different regions across the world.

The report includes the following sections:

  1. Definitions, Legal Framework and Background
  2. Key Papers
  3. Case Studies
  4. Other Useful Sources and Information
  5. Gaps in Knowledge
  6. Comments from Specialists
  7. Additional Information

Getting and keeping girls in school may be one of the best ways to foster later, consensual marriage, while also contributing to delayed sexual initiation, lower rates of HIV and AIDS and other morbidities, and greater gender equality.


Holley, C. Helpdesk Report: The Impact of Girls’ Education on Early Marriage. Human Development Resource Centre, UK (2011) 17 pp.

Helpdesk Report: The Impact of Girls’ Education on Early Marriage

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