Young women’s education can minimize at least two things: the poverty cycle and early pregnancy. Bali WISE is determined to provide free hospitality training for these young women’s brighter future.

Indonesian Law of Child Marriage

In 2019, Indonesian law on child marriage had been revised, where the minimum age for marriage changed from 16 years old to 19 years old. However, there is a loophole in this law. The parents can marry off their children if there is a dispensation from the Religious Court. The common reasons parents use to marry off their daughters are to escape from economic difficulties and early pregnancy out of wedlock.

Child Marriage During Pandemic

When the lockdown policy was issued in the early spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia, all the schools were closed and the economic sectors gradually fell. The lower-class society tends to marry off their children to ease their economic burden, especially during the pandemic. On the other hand, the early pregnancy out of wedlock is also increasing, allowing more dispensation to go through Religious Court. 

The latest data from The Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection (MoWECP) found that there was 23.126 child marriage in 2019, and this number was increasing to be 64.211 in 2020. As an addition, of 34 thousand marriage dispensation applications from January to June 2020, 97% of them were granted, and 60% of applications came from children under 18 years old.

This brings us to another concern that the young mothers will be exposed to mental health problems and even domestic violence since the marriage occurs when they are not fully prepared physically and mentally. 

Bali WISE Program to Prevent Early Pregnancy

With the increasing number of child marriages and early pregnancies in Indonesia, we can consider several solutions, including education. The Bali WISE program aims to recruit young women from marginalized and financially challenged families, not only to end the poverty cycle, but also to help decrease early pregnancy, and to reduce the risk of children’s declining mental health.

And women’s education certainly is for the greater good as well. As this beautiful quote says: “You educate a man, you educate a man. You educate a woman, you educate a generation.”