In many countries, girls are raised with a mentality of inferiority, due to lack of education, thus resulting in dependence upon fathers, husbands, and sons.
In Africa, bride price, a sum, is used to purchase a bride for her labor and fertility. Girls are married off a young age for the bride price and as a way for parents to lessen their economic burdens. In addition, notions of morality and honor in Muslim regions sustain child marriage. Girls who refuse to follow their parents' will are considered social disgraces.
Girls married young have increased chances of staying in poverty. With education out of reach and limited life opportunities, they are under pressure for premature pregnancy. Girls forced into pregnancy early have a higher risk of miscarriage and injuries, the most common causes of death for ages 15 through 19. "I was so scared," one girl from Ethiopia said. Others went on to describe violent sexual encounters, no knowledge of pregnancy beforehand, and most common: "They told me it was my duty." At a young age, girls are not physically, mentally, or emotionally prepared, and are be beaten or abused by husbands, abandoned, or even killed through dowry deaths. Tigist of Ethiopia said, "I have a home and child, so I can't go back to school now." Fortunately, changes seem to be coming. Tigist's husband, Bekele, acknowledged, "We got married early. We're suffering from disadvantages and we don"t want the next generation to go through that."
Yet, the older generations, including families and the priests who marry young couples, maintain, "If there were any danger in early marriage, Allah would have forbidden it. This is the way we've always done things. The government bans this, saying do not get under-aged children married, but we don't care and we do these weddings anyway."
Contrarily, large organizations such as the United Nations believe, "It is no coincidence that the same countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East that have high rates of child marriage are those with: high poverty rates, birth rates and death rates, greater incidence of conflict and civil strife, and lower levels of overall development, including schooling, employment, health care." In their research, they add, "The East Asian "Miracles" like Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand that have successfully eradicated the harmful traditional practice of child marriage are characterized by: economic growth and opportunity, declines in birth and death rates, and increase in educational and employment options for girls."