Legally, according to Law No. 16 of 2019, the minimum age for marriage for women in Indonesia is 19 years. However, in practice, cases of early marriage still often arise for various reasons. One reason that often appears is economic reasons. Few parents who have lost their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic believed that marrying off their children as early as possible would ease the burden on the family. This logic has triggered an increasing trend of applications for marriage dispensation involving children. Although some cases of early marriage result from "risky dating", the efforts to prevent an increase in early marriages are still significant. This is what underlies the KKN Group of UNY 25856 Tunggularum Wonokerto Turi, Sleman Regency with Das Salirawati as speaker on July 31, 2022. "We chose Dr. Das Salirawati as the speaker because of her experience as the Head of the Center for Women and Gender Studies at LPPM UNY," said Romadhon Mustofa, the head of the UNY 25856 KKN Group. Vice-leader of Tunggularum Youth Organization, Zainuddin, welcomed this activity because it would provide enlightenment on what youngsters should consider before planning to get married.
Dr. Das Salirawati explained that a couple is categorized as experiencing early marriage when their age and mental maturity are not enough to enter the household world. “Biologically, women are ready to reproduce at the age of 20, while men are 25. At that age, the reproductive organs are ready to function optimally, meaning that the egg is ready to be fertilized. Therefore, the sperm cell is ready for fertilization,” she said. "At 20, a woman is psychologically ready to take care of the household. But, at 25, a man is also prepared to become the head of the family," she said.
Dr. Das Salirawati stated that there were three causes of early marriage: promiscuity, dropping out of school, and parental requests. There are still parents who think that girls do not need higher education because, in the end, they will only take care of household chores. In addition, there is a fear of being labeled as an "old virgin" if you are 18 years of age and over but not yet married. These things encourage parents to marry off their children at an early age.
Dr. Das Salirawati invites everyone to prevent early marriage because it impacts social, psychological, and biological aspects. Marrying at an early age provides a social burden for the child, psychological pressure if the child cannot adapt to the life he lives, and biologically the mother's reproductive organs are not quite ready to accept the presence of a child in her womb. Therefore, experience, physical maturity, and maturity of thinking are needed if someone wants to get married early. Indeed, some couples marry early and manage to have a good family, but there are not many of them. "Therefore, getting married at a physically and psychologically mature age is highly recommended," concluded Das Salirawati.
Through this workshop, UNY tries to play an active role in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those related to Gender Equality and No Poverty. (Dedy, Tj.lak)