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Child marriage, here, is defined as marriage after the onset of puberty but before age 18. This is a problem particularly for adolescent girls, although it affects boys as well. Although the Child’s Right Act passed in Nigeria in 2003 defines the legal minimum age of marriage as 18 and thus criminalizes child marriage, child marriage is still occurring in various parts of the country. The problem of girl-child marriage in Nigeria is significant because it is a leading cause of reproductive health issues, specifically obstetric fistulas. Acknowledging the latter, one pressing question remains, “Why is child marriage continuing?” In this presentation, I will discuss how my research employs the Structural Functional theory of Sociology, which focuses on how function and dysfunction between societal institutions contributes to various societal phenomena, as a tool to understand why child marriage persists in Nigeria. Furthermore, I will discuss some of the health and socio-economic impacts of girl-child marriage and some suggestions on how to reduce the practice of girl-child marriage in Nigeria.

Publication Date



University of Minnesota, Morris


Morris, MN


Child marriage


Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Sociology

Exploring Reasons for the Persistence of Girl-Child Marriage in Nigeria