The proportion of girls getting married in India has nearly halved in a decade, the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said.
Speaking at a meet organized by Thomson Reuters Foundation, Javier Aguilar, UNICEF’s chief of child protection, said, ‘25 million child marriages were prevented worldwide in the last decade, with the largest reduction seen in South Asia — where India was at the forefront. India constitutes more than 20% of the world’s adolescent population and accounts for the highest number of child marriages in South Asia given its size and population,”
Elaborating further he said, “In the current trend, 27% of girls, or nearly 1.5 million girls, get married before they turn 18 in India. This is a sharp decline from 47% a decade ago’
Child marriage adds to health, education and abuse risks, and increases the chance of intergenerational poverty, said Anju Malhotra, UNICEF’s principal gender adviser, in a statement. “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,” Malhotra said.
Campaigners and officials attributed the drop in child marriages to better access to education for women and increased public awareness on the negative impact of child marriage.