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English stage actress Ellen Terry was married at age 16 to George Frederic Watts who was 46 years old, a marriage her parents thought would be advantageous; later she said she was uncomfortable being a child bride. A sense of social insecurity has been a cause of child marriages across the world.

For example, in Nepal, parents fear likely social stigma if adult daughters (past 18 years) stay at home.

Ruth Lamdan writes: “The numerous references to child marriage in the 16th- century Responsa literature and other sources, shows that child marriage was so common, it was virtually the norm.

In this context, it is important to remember that in halakha, the term ‘minor’ refers to a girl under twelve years and a day.

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Providing a girl with a dowry at her marriage is an ancient practice which continues in some parts of the world.

This requires parents to bestow property on the marriage of a daughter, which is often an economic challenge for many families.

In certain countries, even when the legal marriage age is 18, cultural traditions take priority over legislative law.In ancient and medieval societies it was common for girls to be betrothed at or even before puberty.As Friedman claims, "arranging and contracting the marriage of a young girl were the undisputed prerogatives of her father in ancient Israel." Most girls were married before the age of 15, often at the start of their puberty.The countries with the highest observed rates of child marriages below the age of 18 are Niger, Chad, Mali, Bangladesh, Guinea and the Central African Republic, with a rate above 60%.The practice began to be questioned in the 20th century, with the age of individuals' first marriage increasing in many countries and most countries increasing the minimum marriage age.

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