Indicator 5.3.1:Proportion of women aged 20-24 years who were first married or in a union before age 15 and before age 18
Target 5.3: Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Definition and Rationale
This indicator is defined as the percentage of women aged 20-24 years who were first married or in a union before age 15 and before age 18.
Unions refers to both formal (i.e. marriage) and informal cohabiting unions.
-Informal union refers to couples living together as if married, but for which there has been no civil or religious ceremony (cohabitation).
Rationale and Interpretation:
Marriage before the age of 18 is a fundamental violation of human rights. Child marriages often compromises a girl’s development by resulting in early pregnancy and social isolation, interrupting her schooling, limiting her opportunities for career and vocational advancement and placing her at an increased risk of intimate partner violence. Child marriage is a direct manifestation of gender inequality and against several international conventions and agreements.
The monitoring of this indicator over time would help observe change and assess the effectiveness of policy interventions to eliminate this harmful practice.
Data Sources and Collection Method
This data is collected through national censuses or national household surveys which have modules linked to marital status and age at first union of men and women of reproductive age. These surveys are generally conducted by the ministries of health or national statistical offices. The most commonly available sources of nationally representative and internationally-comparable data are the UNICEF-supported MICS and the USAID-supported DHS.
Method of Computation and Other Methodological Considerations
The percentage of women aged 20-24 years who were married or in a union (PCM) before the age a can be calculated as:
Wais the number of women aged 20-24 years who were first married or in union before age 15 (or before age 18); and
WTotalis the total number of women aged 20-24 years.
Comments and limitations:
The modules used to collect information on marital status and age at first union among women and men of reproductive age (15-49 years) have been fully harmonized between the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS).
Proxy, alternative and additional indicators: N/A
This indicator can be disaggregated by age, income, place of residence, geographic location, education and ethnicity (for some countries).