Child Marriage and Youth Empowerment: Directions for Future Research, Practice, and Training


Child marriage refers to a union—formal or informal—in which one or both members of a couple marry before the age of 18. Annually, an estimated 15 million girls marry before their 18th birthdays. Evidence shows that marriage below the age of 18 increases risks related to health, education, opportunity and, well-being. It increases girls' exposure to partner violence throughout their lives and promotes poverty. Child marriage takes place in every region across the globe, including within the US, and the causes, consequences, and prevalence vary among and within countries.

Through monthly conversations and presentations from researchers across Berkeley in multiple disciplines, this Matrix Prospecting Team aims to gain a broader and deeper understanding of child marriage and the complex set of social factors that shape adolescence. In doing so, the scholars' vision is to promote well-being during this pivotal life phase and pave the way to successful transitions to adulthood. They plan to do this through discussing innovative, rigorous, and interdisciplinary research and evaluation design, and considering how this evidence can contribute to cross-sectoral programs and policies.

This team is led by scholars who have experience leading research in a number of critical areas relevant to child marriage from multiple disciplines across the university. They have scholars engaged in the fields of education; public health, global health, and mental health; youth and adolescent studies; demography; gender studies; international development; and public policy.


Photo Credit: "A Life Free From Violence," Jessica Lea/Department for International Development, Creative Commons via Flickr