• University of Strathclyde

Forced Marriage: Challenges and Dilemmas

Develop your knowledge of human rights and societal issues as you explore the impact of forced marriage and measures to combat it.

466 enrolled on this course

Forced Marriage: Challenges and Dilemmas
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Learn how to define forced marriages

Forced marriage is internationally recognised as a violation of human rights.

On this four-week course, you’ll understand the meaning of forced marriage as well as its impact on both individuals and communities.

You’ll explore the difference between forced and arranged marriage, and what role honour and culture play.

You’ll also look at the prevalence of forced marriage globally and whether it is common in the UK.

Explore the issues of forced marriage in a social and cultural context

Examining the social and cultural contexts of forced marriage, you’ll analyse the challenges of addressing this sensitive societal issue.

You will also discover the range of measures being implemented nationally and internationally to prevent forced marriage and to support those affected.

Understand forced marriage as a form of violence against women (VAW)

Forced marriage is recognised internationally as a violation of women’s and children’s human rights but is also regarded by the UN as a form of violence against women.

On the course, you’ll explore why it is considered as VAW and delve into the impact it has on the individual and communities where it takes place.

Learn from the experts at the University of Strathclyde

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to define forced marriage and have a deeper understanding of how it affects people.

Learning from the experts at the University of Strathclyde, you’ll also explore the forms of primary prevention in education, families, and communities worldwide.

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  • Week 1

    What is Forced Marriage?

    • Welcome to the course

      Listen to Dr Melanie McCarry as she introduces you to the course and meet some of your fellow participants.

    • Welcome to the week

      Here we'll introduce the first week of the course, asking what is forced marriage?

    • Voices

      We'll now move on to think about the role of expert voices and personal experience in understanding and addressing forced marriage.

    • Understanding and defining

      We'll consider some definitions of forced marriage and think about how this is different from arranged marriage and child marriage.

    • Culture and honour

      As we approach the end of this week, we'll turn to notions of culture and honour in relation to forced marriage.

    • Reflection

      Here we'll think about what we've learned over the course of the week.

  • Week 2

    Prevalence and Impact

    • Welcome to week two

      This week we'll be focusing on the prevalence and impact of forced marriage in Scotland and the UK.

    • Prevalence of forced marriage

      We'll now think about how prevalent forced marriage is, thinking about the UK context and then the Scottish experience.

    • Reporting forced marriage

      Here we'll think about how and when forced marriage is reported and the extent to which it remains under-reported.

    • Key issues in forced marriage

      Expanding on our understanding of key issues in forced marriage, we'll look at gender, coercion and young people.

    • The different impacts of forced marriage

      We'll now think about the range of impacts of forced marriage, considering how it affects different groups and individuals.

    • Reflection

      We'll now look back on this week, reflecting on what we've learned about the prevalence and impact of forced marriage.

  • Week 3

    Policy and Legal Responses

    • Welcome to week three

      Introducing week three, we'll turn our attention to the law on forced marriage and criminalisation before thinking about survivors' voices.

    • The law on forced marriage

      In this section we'll look at existing laws on forced marriage and begin to consider the civil and criminalisation debate.

    • Issues with the law

      Now we've thought a bit about the law as it relates to forced marriage, we'll begin to consider some of the most prominent issues it raises.

    • Survivors and the law

      Survivors are crucial in our conversations about forced marriage, but are their voices prioritised in legal debates?

    • Reflection

      Here we'll look back at this week, reflecting on what we've learned so far.

  • Week 4


    • Welcome to week four

      Introducing this week, we'll look at preventing forced marriage which will be our focus for this final week of the course.

    • Key issues in prevention

      There are different approaches to prevention, which speak to some of the key issues we've discussed in previous weeks. Here we'll think about some of these approaches.

    • Primary prevention

      In this section we'll look at varied forms of primary prevention, from education and schools to families and communities.

    • Reflection

      Here, we'll end the course by looking back at all we've learned about forced marriage.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the social and cultural roots of forced marriage.
  • Interpret what is meant by the term forced marriage.
  • Demonstrate why the UN regards forced marriage as a form of violence against women.
  • Assess the potential impact of forced marriage on those affected.
  • Develop understanding of the extent of forced marriage and the contexts where it occurs.
  • Develop understanding of the range of legal measures and interventions being implemented nationally and internationally to prevent forced marriage and support those affected.
  • Identify the challenges in addressing this sensitive social issue.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in learning more about forced marriages.

It focuses on UK law but is relevant to all learners and will be of particular value to those living or working in affected communities.

Who will you learn with?

Dr Melanie McCarry has published widely on violence against women and children, and for over 20 years has worked collaboratively with colleagues in both academia and the feminist activist movement.

Who developed the course?

University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde is a leading international technological university located in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, committed to useful learning.

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