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What’s Driving Child Marriages in Ghana

Ghana is one of the many countries worldwide in which child marriage – marriage below the age of 18 – happens. A survey conducted in 2018 indicates that just over 19% of girls are married before they turn 18 while 5% are married before their 15th birthday. These numbers were lower than four years previously. Ghana has one of the lowest rates of child marriage in West and Central Africa. Within the country, the Northern and Upper East regions of Ghana reported the highest rates (28% each) while the Greater Accra region has the lowest rate (8%). There are a myriad of interconnected reasons for why the practice of child marriage happens. These include gender inequality, poverty, traditional and customary practices, social norms, peer pressure and poor parenting. Ignorance, impunity and poor enforcement of the law also play a role. Research in Ghana has focused on some of the causes as well as the effects of early marriage. But the lived experiences of married individuals, their parents and other stakeholders and individuals have been largely ignored.