Child, early and forced marriage and unions are a reality in Latin America and the Caribbean, albeit not a highly visible one. This is a complex phenomenon associated with gender inequalities, violence, poverty, school dropout, adolescent pregnancy and inadequate, limited or non-existent legal and political frameworks, and it puts the present and future of girls and adolescent girls in jeopardy.
These practices are both the cause and the consequence of women’s limited physical, economic and decision-making autonomy, and they disproportionally affect girls and adolescent girls in rural areas and those in poor households with less access to education. In some countries, they are also associated with a notably greater prevalence among indigenous peoples.
This document seeks to turn a spotlight on this harmful practice, particularly as a detonator and aggravator of gender inequalities for girls and adolescent girls. It draws on statistical and qualitative information to offer an innovative contribution by presenting gaps in different dimensions of development, including the time that girls and adolescent girls who are married or in union spend on domestic and care tasks, and it recommends actions to address this situation at the regional level and in the countries.