A Quarter of West Sumatran Women Married Before 19: BPS

Arfi Bambani
Child sexual abuse illustration
Child sexual abuse illustration - A national socioeconomic survey conducted in 2021 found that at least 24.49 percent of women in West Sumatra got married before turning 19, the provincial Statistics Indonesia (BPS) Office informed.

"This means that 25 out of every 100 women in West Sumatra have their first marriage at the age of below 19 years," chief of the West Sumatra BPS Office, Herum Fajarwati, said, according to the West Sumatra Demography and Family Planning Profile released on Saturday, August 6, 2022.

Child marriage is related to a low education level, she said referring to a UNICEF report. "Children who get married before marriageable age tend to have low education," she noted.

The BPS has found that elementary school dropouts and graduates make up 75.79 percent of women who get married before 19. The phenomenon of child marriage cannot be resolved by one sector alone, Fajarwati said.

"Many sectors should get involved to lower the child marriage rate, ranging from education, health, manpower sectors, etc.," she said.

In the health sector, counseling about the use of contraceptives needs to be provided to women opting to get married before they turn 19 so that they can postpone pregnancy until they are 20 years old, she said.

"As per data, more than half of women who got married at the age of below 19 years did not use contraceptives," she added.

If the matter is not addressed it could lead to a population explosion due to the high adolescent fertility rate, she said.

According to the Indonesian government's regulation, the minimum age for marriage is 21 years for women and 25 years for men.

The National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) stated that solving the problem of extreme poverty can help reduce the likelihood of child marriage. "From the population survey of BPS, (the incidence of) marriage among children aged 15–19 years is still very high," BKKBN's deputy for population control, Bonivasius Prasetya Ichtiarto, said recently.

The National Socioeconomic Survey showed that as many as 27.54 million people or 10.14 percent of the Indonesian population experienced extreme poverty in March 2021. However, the number declined to 26.50 million people in September 2021 and dropped again to 26.16 million in March 2022.

Tag # child marriage # children issues # indonesia children # west sumatra

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