Child Marriage in India: A Deep-rooted Social Issue that Demands Urgent Attention
India is one of the nations most afflicted by child marriage, which remains a serious problem for civilizations all around the world. Despite substantial advancements in many areas, child marriage is still a problem that hinders social and economic advancement, deprives children of their fundamental rights, and perpetuates gender inequity. The goal of this article is to raise awareness of child marriage’s alarming frequency in India, its causes and effects, and the urgent need for all-encompassing actions to end this terrible practice.
Prevalence and Causes
With over 27% of all child marriages taking place there, India has the most child brides in the entire globe. A third of women between the ages of 20 and 24 who were married before turning 18 are reported by UNICEF. Child marriage is more common in rural places, where it is encouraged by social standards that are conservative, limited access to education, and poverty. The main causes of this destructive practice include elements like gender inequity, patriarchal traditions, dowry customs, and the notion that marriage protects girls’ honor.
Consequences and Impact
Young females who marry as children suffer terrible physical, emotional, and psychological effects. Early marriage frequently causes physical problems that complicate pregnancy and labor, providing major health risks to both the mother and the child. Girls who are pressured into early marriages are more likely to drop out of school, which reduces their chances of obtaining an education and a job, prolongs the cycle of poverty, and enlarges the gender gap. Additionally, they are more susceptible to sexual assault and domestic violence and have less influence over social and familial decisions.
Legal Framework and Initiatives:
India has passed a number of laws to prevent child marriage, such as the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (2006), which establishes the marriage age as being 18 for females and 21 for males. These rules’ implementation and enforcement, though, continue to be difficult. The government has launched awareness campaigns, educational initiatives, and community-based interventions to address child marriage, along with a number of non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations. Despite these attempts, a concerted and persistent strategy is needed to effect real change.
The Way Forward:
Engagement of the Community: Discussions and awareness campaigns involving community leaders, religious leaders, and important people can aid in challenging deeply ingrained customs and norms that support child marriage. Community-driven solutions are necessary for advancing gender equality and altering social norms.
Strengthening Laws and Their Enforcement: It is essential to strengthen laws and their enforcement and to make changes to close loopholes. Fast-track legal processes or specialized courts can accelerate child marriage cases and deliver justice on time.
Health and social services: Addressing the physical and emotional health requirements of child brides can be done by providing accessible healthcare services, such as reproductive health services and counseling. Additionally, social protection programs should be developed to assist low-income families, easing the financial strains that frequently lead to child marriages.
Child marriage in India continues to be a deep-rooted social issue that hampers the overall development and well-being of children, especially girls. While progress has been made, concerted efforts from all stakeholders are necessary to tackle the complex web of factors that sustain this practice. By prioritizing education, empowering girls, engaging communities, strengthening legislation, and providing comprehensive services, India can strive towards a future where every child has the opportunity to grow, learn, and fulfill their potential, free from the shackles of child marriage.
Article by Pradeep Kumar and Company, Court Marriage Ghaziabad Lawyer