Masvingo — Child marriages are on the rise in Zimbabwe, particularly in rural areas, where girls as young as 15 are married off to men 10 or more years their senior, a survey by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and ZimStat reveals.
By Tatenda Chitagu
The 64 paged survey titled the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey of 2014: Key Findings, was carried out from February to April this year countrywide.
It noted that rural girls were married before the age of 15 to spouses who are more than 10 years older than them.
“The proportion of women who were married before the age of 15 is more than that of men. Five percent of women and 0,3 % of men age 15-49 years were first married or in union before age 15.
“One in three women and less than 1 in 20 (3,7 percent) of men age 20-49 were first married or in union before age 18.”
The report further noted that girls topped the charts more than boys.
“Young people age 15-19 years currently married or in union were 24,5 % and 1,7 % for women and men, respectively.
“The percentage of women and men age 15-49 years who are in a polygynous union was 10,1 % and 3,8 %, respectively.
“Age mixing is prevalent for young women, with 19,9% of women age 15-19, and 17,5% of women age 20-24 years married or in union with a spouse 10 or more years older.”
The sample of the survey had 682 clusters, 229 in urban areas and 453 in rural areas.
A representative sample of 17 047 households was selected for the survey.
The ultimate units of analysis for the MICS are the individual households and persons, including specific sub-population groups, that is, women of reproductive age 15 to 49, men age 15 to 54, and children under five years of age.