Thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15, in spite of the fact that the minimum age of marriage under Nepali law is 20 years of age. Boys also often marry young in Nepal, though in lower numbers than girls. UNICEF data indicates that Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia, after Bangladesh and India.
In interviewing dozens of children and young people, Human Rights Watch learned that these marriages result from a web of factors including poverty, lack of access to education, child labor, social pressures, and harmful practices. Cutting across all of these is entrenched gender inequality, and damaging social norms that make girls less valued than boys in Nepali society.