Two out of 10 women aged 15-49 years were first married before the age of 15, says a report published by the Central Bureau of Statistics this week.
According to the Nepal Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2014, child marriage still persists in the Nepali society although the minimum legal age for marriage is 20 years for both male and female.
Before the age of 18, girls are neither physically nor emotionally ready to become wives or mothers.
It said child marriage not only deprives girls of education, but it often makes them vulnerable to a cycle of discrimination, domestic violence and abuse.
Formal or informal union between boys and girls below the age of 18 years is a child marriage.
The NMICS also stated that 5 out of 10 women aged 20-49 years were first married before the age of 18 in the country. Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey is an internationally agreed household survey programme developed by UNICEF and constitutes one of the world’s largest sources of statistical information on children and women.
It assists countries in filling data gaps to monitor human development in general and the situation of children and women in particular. It provides data for developing evidence-based policies and also seeks to monitor progress towards national goals and global commitments aimed at promoting the welfare of children, including the Millennium Development Goals.
MICS is conducted every three years in Nepal.
The report has suggested to children to make parents aware that a couple needs to be at least 20 years of age to get married.
The report also covers other topics such as Water for Health, Caring of Newborn, Health Seeking Behaviour, Food for Growth and Development, Drinking Water, Hygiene and Sanitation, Early Childhood Development, Child Protection, Harmful Practices among Adolescents, and Protecting Ourselves from HIV.
It has been published in a format of a pictorial booklet to promote understanding of various facts about children and women and also to inform children about ways to improve the situation.