Child marriages in India on the decline

ANI | Updated: Mar 07, 2018 08:36 IST

New Delhi [India], Mar. 07 (ANI): Child marriage rates in India have had a significant reduction due to continued efforts being put in the country to abolish the practice, a report by UNICEF said.

The world average of girls married below the age of 18 also dropped by 15 percent in the last decade, from 1 in 4 to approximately 1 in 5.

India's progress in this field was the primary driver behind the dwindling average in South Asia, which saw the largest decline worldwide, by more than a third, from nearly 50 percent to 30 percent.

Increasing rates of girls' education, proactive government investments in adolescent girls, and strong public messaging around the illegality of child marriage and the harm it causes have been listed as the reasons for the breakthrough by the UNICEF.

"When a girl is forced to marry as a child, she faces immediate and lifelong consequences. Her odds of finishing school decrease while her odds of being abused by her husband and suffering complications during pregnancy increase. There are also huge societal consequences and a higher risk of intergenerational cycles of poverty," said Anju Malhotra, UNICEF's Principal Gender Advisor.

"Given the life-altering impact child marriage has on a young girl's life, any reduction is welcome news, but we've got a long way to go."

Despite the tremendous headway achieved, UNICEF has warned against complacency and has indicated that efforts need to be accelerated in order to totally abolish the practice by the year 2030. (ANI)