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Abstract

Nepal has one of the highest child marriage rates in the world; the prevalence is even higher in Terai region. There has been an observable correlation between marriage and education leading to the general assumption that girls attending school are less likely to be married at an early age compared with counterparts that have either dropped out of school or have not been in school. This paper assesses the causality between school attendance and likelihood of marriage. The study relies on a qualitative assessment conducted at 5 schools in Dhanusha, a district in Province 2 of Nepal. Participants in the assessment included 60 schoolgirls from grade 9 to 10. Interviews were conducted where participants were familiarized with previous research reports on marital age and education, national statistics and legal documents on child marriages. From the outcomes of the interviews, the girls noted that their society, neighbors, senior citizens in their community, relatives and religious leaders were the primary agents of solicitations for marriage proposals to a family and that the activity began when a girl reached the age of thirteen. There was significant indication from the interviews that schoolgirls were not immune from early marriage.

Note on the Author

Nub Raj Bhandari has focused on issues related to girls’ and women’s’ rights, education and social accountability for the past nine years. Nub has a Masters of Philosophy in Education from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He is presently a Program Director at Janaki Women Awareness Society and also a researcher for child marriage projects. His research focus and commitment are policy focused and seek to transform social norms by promoting quality education to girls.

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