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Education and Decisions about the Timing of Marriage in Amhara Region, Ethiopia

Eunice Muthengi


This paper explores how families make decisions about the timing of marriage in rural Ethiopia, and what role education plays in those decisions. It is based on qualitative data collected in two rural communities located in Mecha Woreda and Meksegnit, both in Amhara Region. Results show that the term early marriage encompasses a few different types of marriages in these communities, including promissory marriages, child marriages and adolescent marriages. Education seems to play an important role in determining the timing of marriage in these communities. Respondents believe that educated girls are more likely to delay the age of marriage, to choose their own partners and to have a say in decisions regarding the timing of marriage. Some parents do consider education when making decisions about when their daughter should get married; particularly parents who value education or parents are themselves educated. These findings are useful for the design of quantitative research studies to improve our understanding of the determinants of early marriage and the design of interventions to delay the age of marriage and to increase educational opportunities for young girls in Ethiopia.


education; marriage; Ethiopia

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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