Early Marriage of Young Females: A panacea to Poverty in the Northern Region of Ghana

Eliasu Alhassan


Early marriage before the age of 18 years in Ghana is a violation of a constitution of Ghana and a number ofinternational human rights conventions. However, for many young girls in the Northern Region, marriage isperceived as a means of securing their future survival and protecting them. Girls are forced into marriage by theirfamilies while they are still children either in school or out of school in the hope that marriage will benefit thegirls and their families both financially and socially. The paper examines the influence of poverty on earlymarriage in the rural Northern Region of Ghana. The study was both qualitative and quantitative therefore bothprimary and secondary data were sourced through interviews, questionnaire, focus group discussion, internet andjournals. Girls who married before the age of sixteen years and the opinion leaders and parents were the targetedpopulation and the data were processed with the Statistical Package for Social Scientists and analyzed.The study found that in many instances parents forced their girls to marry early as a result of the fact that theycannot meet the financial need of the family. It was also revealed that girls in the Northern Region marry earlybecause of their parents’ inability to see them through education. The cost associated with girls’ education washigher than the boys and the family resources were not enough to see the girls through education hence earlymarriage was the option. Incomes of household heads are so low that they are not able to meet the cost ofeducating their girls’ therefore early marriage is seen as a way of getting them out of poverty but that is not theonly solution to poverty. In an attempt to address the issue of early marriages in the Northern Region of Ghana,an improvement in the incomes levels of parents through soft loans to embark on small scale business in additionof what household heads do for living will be one way reduce the poverty levels of household heads since thedecision to gives out girls early for marriage still remain with the household heads in the Northern Region ofGhana.Keywords: Marriage, Poverty, Human rights, Household, Education.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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