Researchers and activists believe that early marriages hinders social development in Yemen because women, half of society and an economic power that societies depend on, don’t work, leaving the burden to husbands and to society.
Doctor Abdulbaqi Shamsan, a Political Sociology professor at the University of Sana’a, said early marriage obstructs development for the country.
He said there is a deficit in the demographic composition of Yemeni society because it is composed of 70 percent youth, with 70 percent living in the countryside and most women staying home with their children. Therefore, much of the workforce is unable to work.
“Yemeni women must play a more tangible role in developing society because they are half of it,” Shamsan said.
He said that since women don’t work, progress decreased in the country.
Ali Al-Wafi, an economics expert, considers early marriage to be a problem that increases population growth, which in turn slows economic growth.
“Giving birth to several children affects mothers’ health, subjects her to diseases and also affects development because they are half of society’s population,” he said.
Shawqi Al-Qadi, a member of parliament (MP) said early marriage is a violation of women’s rights. He said it obstructs social development.
“Females who get married too early are deprived of education. They aren’t mature yet. A lot of money is spent to treat them of diseases stemming from early marriages, which prevent them from having a good life and participating in improving their society. This obstructs social development.” Reem Al-Najar, director of the Marriage and Safe Pregnancy project in the Yemen’s Women Union, said early marriage impedes development and deprives females of education. They don’t work and are a burden on their families. This increases poverty rates and mortality rates among them.
Al-Najar said the union is working to launch a media campaign to boost awareness among people about the negative effects of early marriage, its negative effects on girls’ health and how it deprives them of their rights.
Regarding the reasons of early marriages in Yemen, Doctor Abdulahafedh Al-Khameri, a psychology and parapsychology doctor at Sana’a University, said parents tend to prefer early marriages for their daughters because they fear they will never be married if they don’t do so early or because of poverty situations that force them to get married early.
“A false impression is conveyed to girls that they are a financial, economic and social burden on their families; therefore, they often accept early marriages,” Al-Khameri said. “Parents prefer early marriages because they fear waiting, so the family and daughter often accept them.” Al-Khameri suggested that education be made obligatory and finding work for females made easier so they don’t feel that they are burden on their families.