Early Marriage and Education: the complex role of social norms in shaping Ethiopian adolescent girls’ lives

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ODI, Overseas Development Institute

This country report is part of a multi-country, two year study that also covered Nepal, Uganda, and Viet Nam.

Despite Ethiopia’s economic growth over the past decade and the government’s commitment to promoting gender equality, young women and adolescent girls continue to face early marriage and gender-biased social norms that rank Ethiopia 129th out of 136 countries, according to the Gender-related Development Index (GDI).

This report finds that multiple and inter-linked, discriminatory social norms dictate adolescent girls’ choices and capabilities. Avenues of change, ways in which these social norms can be adjusted to benefit young girls, are identified in this report – as well as inhibitors to change.

The report finds that, above all, education was the key driver for social change and that girls and young women must be given opportunities to pursue their education and be encouraged to continue their education and remain in school. 

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