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Intersecting Disadvantages for Married Adolescents: Life After Marriage Pre- and Post-COVID-19 in Contexts of Displacement

Journal issue/article

Written by Nicola Jones

Although there is a growing evidence base on the drivers of child marriage, comparatively little is known about the experiences of married girls in refugee settings and how their development trajectories diverge from those of their non-married peers, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on cross-national panel data from Bangladesh and Jordan, this article explores diversity in child marriage experiences in contexts affected by forced displacement, highlighting how married girls’ well-being differs from that of their unmarried peers, and how COVID-19 has reinforced these differences.

Our findings highlight that married girls in contexts affected by displacement are disadvantaged in multiple ways, but that the patterning of disadvantage varies across contexts. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities in all contexts. Although child marriage prevention efforts remain critical, there is also an urgent need for programming that targets married girls in refugee and host communities to mitigate negative outcomes among this vulnerable group.

Authors: Sarah Baird, Maureen Murphy, Jennifer Seager, Nicola Jones, Anju Malhotra, Sarah Alheiwidi, Guday Emirie, Sabina Rashid and Maheen Sultan