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In some countries, the younger the bride, the higher the price she may fetch.
Causes of child marriages include poverty, bride price, dowry, cultural traditions, laws that allow child marriages, religious and social pressures, regional customs, fear of remaining unmarried, illiteracy, and perceived inability of women to work for money.Thus, Goitein notes that European Jews would marry their girls early, once they had collected the expected amount of dowry.A bride price is the amount paid by the groom to the parents of a bride for them to consent to him marrying their daughter.Ruth Lamdan writes: “The numerous references to child marriage in the 16th- century Responsa literature and other sources, shows that child marriage was so common, it was virtually the norm.In this context, it is important to remember that in halakha, the term ‘minor’ refers to a girl under twelve years and a day.Such determination of sexual maturity is a matter of subjective judgment, and there is a strong belief among most Muslims and scholars, based on Sharia, that marrying a girl less than 13 years old is an acceptable practice for Muslims.
According to UNFPA, factors that promote and reinforce child marriage include poverty and economic survival strategies; gender inequality; sealing land or property deals or settling disputes; control over sexuality and protecting family honour; tradition and culture; and insecurity, particularly during war, famine or epidemics.
The legally prescribed marriageable age in some jurisdictions is below 18 years, especially in the case of girls; and even when the age is set at 18 years, many jurisdictions permit earlier marriage with parental consent or in special circumstances, such as teenage pregnancy.
In certain countries, even when the legal marriage age is 18, cultural traditions take priority over legislative law.
Providing a girl with a dowry at her marriage is an ancient practice which continues in some parts of the world.
This requires parents to bestow property on the marriage of a daughter, which is often an economic challenge for many families.
Child marriages were common throughout history for a variety of reasons including poverty, insecurity, as well as for political and financial reasons.