Although the LAC does not have the highest rates of CM, it is the only region in the world where it is not decreasing. If this trend continues and no tangible efforts and investments are made, LAC will have the second highest CM rates by 2030 (UN Women, UNICEF & UNFPA, 2018(link is external)(link is external)).
- Honduras has the fourth highest prevalence of CM in Latin America and the Caribbean (34%-38% are married by the age of 15) after Brazil (36%), Dominican Republic (37%), and Nicaragua (41%) (Girls not Brides, 2017(PDF file)(link is external)(link is external)).
- CM is illegal in Honduras, but this has little influence on CM as these are mostly informal unions (Remez et al., 2009(PDF file)(link is external)(link is external)).
- Despite educational expansion, CM trends have not changed in the past decades. This is partly due to high dropout rates at lower and higher secondary levels in Honduras. Once girls are out of school, they are likely to enter marriages in part because they have no alternative life options (Murphy-Graham et al., 2020(link is external)(link is external)).
- Indeed, most girls who marry as adolescents are poor, live in rural areas, and have low levels of education (Honduran Secretary of Health et al., 2013(link is external)(link is external)).
- Some girls in rural areas of Honduras exercise agency in their decision to marry. That is, girls are not always forced to marry by their parents, community members, or their partners. Instead, in some cases, girls choose to run away with their partners in the absence of any coercion. However, in most cases, this decision to marry at a young age is usually influenced by poverty, the lack of alternative life options available for girls, and social norms that promote gender inequality (Murphy-Graham and Leal, 2015(link is external)(link is external)).
If you want to hear more about Dr. Erin Murphy-Graham's work listen to this podcast(link is external)