DMPQ- What is child marriage? Why Child marriage is rampant in India?

Child Marriage is defined as a marriage of a girl before the age of 18 years  or boy before the age of 21 and refers to both formal marriages and informal unions in which children under the age of 18 live with a partner as if married. Child marriage affects both girls and boys, but it affects girls disproportionately, especially in South Asia.

UNICEF had released a report stating that the number of girls getting married in India had halved. Despite this drop, nearly 1.5 million girls in India get married before they turn 18. Child marriage remains a social evil that India has seemingly had a hard time eradicating. The reasons for child marriages are social and economical.  Major reasons are:

  1. Patriarchal society see girl child as burden on family.
  2. Dowry practices force parent to marry the girl child at earlier age.
  3. Low values for children rights in Indian society. Mass marriages are organised on the auspicious occasion of Akshay Tritiya.
  4. Laws against child marriages failed to bring attitudinal change.
  5. Poor implementation of act and lack of willingness from administration side. Even political parties support such conservative practice for populist reason.
  6. More prevalent in rural society where women are very less educated and are unaware of their rights. Even women of the society support child marriages.

Hence there is a need to remove this social evil. The major changes can be achieved by taking all stakeholders in consensus. Peer groups, religious people, civil society, local administration shall come forward to prevent child marriages. Women officers should be deployed to bring attitudinal change.

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