Until recently, early/child marriage has been notably absent from public rhetoric and policies in Georgia, a country where 14 percent of women marry before the age of 18, constituting one of Europe’s highest rates of early/child marriage. The lack of recognition of early/child marriage as a human rights issue that merits resources and attention in the form of policies and services has led to major gaps in research on the issue. The practice reflects broad trends of gender inequality rather than being solely connected to traditions of ethnic minorities as suggested by some initial perceptions.
The present study thus comes as a timely opportunity to research early/child marriage with greater rigor and depth, and across a wider scope in terms of geography (on a national scale) and population (a larger and broader sample). UNFPA Georgia, in cooperation with UNICEF Georgia, commissioned a nationwide study in partnership with Equimundo. The study aims to understand how and why attitudes, norms, and practices related to early/child marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) persist in Georgia, exploring risks and protective factors in order to identify opportunities to tackle the phenomenon.