Gender issues in early marriage : A comparative study of women's socio-economic status in Ng'ombe and Roma/ Kalundu townships

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Mzyece, Engiwe
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This study set out to compare the extent of early marriages among the women of Ng'ombe and Roma/Kalundu Townships, which are two residential areas of different socio-economic backgrounds. The primary sources of data were the women themselves through their life histories obtained through qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Their stories from birth to the point of starting school, the time of their marriages, the age at which they had their first children and other indicators were all established through carefully structured and unstructured interviews to reveal very interesting and astonishing data, which form the findings of the study.The major findings of the research show that women in Zambia get married very early in their lives. Ng'ombe Township had more respondents who contracted early marriages than Roma /Kalundu. The later had comparatively fewer women contracting early marriages than the former. The research offered a unique and engendered approach to issues regarding the empowerment of women by assessing the effects of early marriage on their socio-economic status and compared the frequency of early marriage using indicators such as the attainments of women in education, professional qualifications and employment opportunities. These indicators were used to determine the position of the women in their respective communities. The study found that the majority of women in Ng'ombe (76 percent) got married between the ages of 16-20 years compared to the women in Roma/Kalundu (84 percent), who got married at the age of 26-30 years. The study established a co-relation among early marriage, education and socio-economic status. The lower the incidences of early marriage, the higher the levels of education and the socio-economic status of women. The study concludes that early marriage should be discouraged through legislation and other means education needs to be given the centre stage in improving the socio-economic status of women.
Marriage age -- Zambia , Economics -- Social aspects -- Women , Child Marriage -- Ngombe -- Kalundu -- Roma , Women -- Ngombe -- Kalundu