Jakarta, September 18, 2019 – UNICEF welcomes the recent amendment of Indonesia’s Marriage Act (1974) which has raised the age that girls can be married with parental permission from 16 to 19 years to be in line with the age for boys, which is also 19. The age of marriage for both women and men without parental permission is 21.
“This is a major milestone in the fight against child marriage,” said Debora Comini, UNICEF Representative in Indonesia. “This amendment not only raises the age of marriage for girls, but also ensures gender equality.”
One in nine married women in Indonesia were married as children. Child marriage robs girls of their childhood and threatens their lives and health, as child brides are more likely to become pregnant at a younger and riskier age. Girls who marry before 18 are also more likely to experience domestic violence and less likely to remain in school.
UNICEF has had an active role in raising awareness about the harmful impact of child marriage through pioneering work on data and analysis in collaboration with national authorities. In November, UNICEF and Statistics Indonesia (BPS) will release a 10-year-trend analysis on child marriage, as a follow up to the 2016 report Progress on Pause: An Analysis of Child Marriage Data in Indonesia.
“While there is still work to be done to reduce the rate of child marriage across the country, this decision is a step in the right direction, and we can all celebrate this victory for children.”