More than 79,000 Ghanaian girls married, living with men, GSS data

According to the GSS data, the region with the highest percentage of girls is the North East Region with 13% followed by the Savannah Region with 10.9%

About 79,733 girls in the country aged between 12 and 17 are married or living with a man, according to the Ghana Statistical Service 2022 data on child marriage.

The data said out of the total number, 25,999 girls between the ages of 12 to 14 fell within the junior high school age category.

It said the regions with the highest percentage of girls were the North East Region with 13%, Savannah Region with 10.9% and the Northern Region with 10.6%.

All the regions mentioned in the report had rates more than twice the national average, which was 4%.

According to a 2017 report by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), Child marriage disproportionally affected the girl child more than boys. Only 2% of boys aged 20 to 24 years were married before age 18 as compared to 21 of girls.

The Ministry identified poverty, illiteracy/low formal education, cultural beliefs, religion, teenage pregnancy and geographical setting as the major causative and contributory factors to the prevalence of child marriage in the country.

Girls from rural areas, according to the MoGCSP factsheet, were more likely to become child brides than their counterparts living in urban settings.

Also, girls from economically impoverished backgrounds were four times more likely to be married off in their early teens than those from wealthy backgrounds.

The report said uneducated or low-educated girls were more likely to be married early than girls who received a senior high school education or higher.

Experts say teenage pregnancies are viewed as shameful or an embarrassment to the family, hence many girls are forced into early marriage to save what is commonly referred to as the “family honour”.

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