Almost Half of Indian Women Get Married Before Age Of 18, Says UN Agency

Child marriage is a violation of child rights, which has a negative impact on growth.

New Delhi: A third of the world’s child brides are in India, with about half of Indian women getting married before they turned 18, the United Nations Population Fund or UNFPA has said. As many as 47 per cent of girls in India below 18 are married, UN data says.

Child marriage is a violation of child rights, which has a negative impact on growth, health, mental and emotional development, and education opportunities. It also affects society as a whole since it “reinforces a cycle of poverty and perpetuates gender discrimination, illiteracy and malnutrition as well as high infant and maternal mortality rates,” says UNICEF.
In rural India, the practice continues despite the prohibition of Child Marriage Act due to strong social sanction. States like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan witness most of the cases.
A UNFPA statement says adolescents form 21 per cent of India’s population, of which girls constitute 48 per cent – which is around 115 million.
But despite improvements on several key development indicators, “there are still issues which limit adolescents, especially girls, from achieving their full potential,” the statement read.

“Around 14 per cent of girls aged 15-19 years are illiterate, and 73 per cent never get to complete more than 10 years of school,” UNFPA said. “Facts like these makes the global theme of this World Population Day, ‘Investing in Teenage Girls,’ especially relevant and important for India.”

The World Population day is observed on July 11, which seeks to raise awareness about global population issues.

“The new development agenda calls on us to leave no one behind,” said the UNFPA, citing Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin.

Osotimehin emphasised that leaders and communities must focus on and stand up for the human rights of the most marginalised teenage girls, particularly those who are poor, out of school, exploited, or subjected to harmful traditional practices, including child marriage.

“Marginalised girls are vulnerable to poor reproductive health and more likely to become mothers while still children themselves. They have a right to understand and control their own bodies and shape their own lives,” Osotimehin said.

8 COMMENTS

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  2. Most states in US allow child marriage (below 18 people to marry and beget children also). Some states in US allow marriage of even 12 years olds. So the UN should try concentrating in its backyard in the US rather than on India (where legally the marriage age is 18)?????

  3. To who ever this finding belongs to-
    Do you have something good to point out about India? We have managed our selves for thousand years. So please stop devising benchmarks and indices that tries to show India in poor light, in the hope to motive westernised intellects and foreign agent in India, to start chasing these ghosts, spend resources perpetually, drain us out. Example – Child labor. It still coexist with the other element of society, Children do get educated and earn at the same time. Government spending and passing of laws does not prevent Child labor. Hence it proves that each society has its own constraint and deals with it in its own way possible. Stop preaching, instead please focus your resources in eradicating terrorism.

  4. I can find many of them saying the comments as biased. I too agree on this. At the same time if it would mentioned that the country is Saudi or UAE then people would start bashing happily without questioning the authenticity of report. Is it not double standard?

  5. This is bias report. Now a days indian women don’t get married before age of 23-24, in fact this age is going to hit the number of 30. UN is comprised by the opinions of Western countries, where people want to look down Indian society, best proof is the movies made about Indian society, they show all crap a lot of which doesn’t exist in contemporary Indian society.

  6. This is just a biased report. What is the basis of such a report which claims more than 50% are married off as early as 18. How can UN claim that almost half are married off before such an age. If such reports are to be true , more than 50% of women population in India need to come from rural background. Is this the fact ?

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