UNAIR NEWS – Covid-19 pandemic does not only bring implications to the national health sector. There is other implication related to the increasing cases of child marriage. According to national data, amid the pandemic, tens of thousands of applications have been submitted to religious courts for dispensation of underage marriages. This issue inspired Student Executive Board (BEM) of Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIP) to hold a webinar entitled Child Marriage Trend amid Pandemic, Is it a Solution?
In the webinar held on Saturday, December 12, 2020, there were three speakers from academics and the government invited to share their views and suggestions regarding the issue. On the first occasion, the Head of National Population Family Planning Board (BKKBN) Representative of East Java Province, Drs. Sukaryo Teguh Santoso, M.Pd. highlighting the data and the role of Bangga Kencana program in overcoming early marriage.
Drs. Sukarya revealed that the rate of child marriage in East Java region is still high, as in October 2020, from 206,972 new marriages there were 23,056 early marriages under 20 years of age.
“This fact is followed by the divorce rate and cases of domestic violence which have also increased due to the economic decline and the quarantine situation during the pandemic,” he added.
Statement by Drs. Sukarya was also supported by the second speaker, Dra. Eva Kusuma Sundari, MA, MDE. as a member of House of Representatives Commission XI 2014-2019. Dra Eva revealed that she has often come into contact with cases of domestic disputes caused by early marriages.
Based on this field data, she explained that there were problems with education, poverty, and lack of knowledge on the dangers of early marriage, which did not make the number of requests for marriage dispensation decrease.
These problems were later explained by Dr. Pinky Saptandari EP. Dra., MA. as an anthropology lecturer at FISIP UNAIR who focuses on gender and feminism studies. According to her, child marriage is a tangible form of domination of patriarchal culture in society.
“The patriarchal culture of society often shackles women. Moreover, child marriage involves two individuals who are not yet mature in biological or psychological terms. This causes women to be the most disadvantaged party in early marriage if you look at the current social construction of society, ” she explained.
Based on this explanation, the three of them encourage education, dissemination, and the role of students as intellectual agents who are able to play a role in reducing the rate of early marriages. The causes of child marriages arise due to multifactorial causes, so solving it requires a big role from each party.
In the webinar held via Zoom Meeting and streamed by Youtube, more than 800 participants from inside and outside UNAIR were also present who exchanged opinions and thoughts. (*)
Author: Intang Arifia
Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia