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Child Marriage is defined as a marriage of a girl or boy before the age of majority as defined by the law marriage laws. It refers to both formal marriages and informal unions in which children under the age of majority live with a partner as if married. Child marriage violates children’s rights and places them at high risk of violence, exploitation, and abuse. India has the largest number of brides in the world and about one-third of the global total. Child marriage is the result of the interplay of economic and social forces. In com
munities where the practice is prevalent, marrying a girl as a child is part of a cluster of social norms and attitudes that reflect the low value according to the human rights of girls.
Although the problem has reduced as compared to say 70 years ago, it is still prevalent in many parts of India. The significant progress in the reduction of child marriages in India has contributed to a large extent to the global decrease in the prevalence of the practice. The decline may be the result of multiple factors such as increased literacy of mothers, better access to education for girls, strong legislation, and migration from rural areas to urban centers. Increased 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 are also among the reasons for the shift. But still, child marriage, which is a deeply rooted social norm, provides glaring evidence of widespread gender inequality and discrimination. It is the result of the interplay of economic and social forces.
Girls and boys who are married as children are more likely to have the lower skill set, knowledge, and job opportunities needed to lift their families out of poverty and contribute to the country’s social and economic growth. Getting married at a young age leads to girls having children prematurely and much more than their lifetime, which increases the economic burden on the home. The lack of funds in many countries to end child marriages may be due to the fact that the economic burden of ending the practice is not yet strong.
In order to fight this problem, we have to uproot the old cultural tree that has embedded deep into our mindsets, only the string light of education can help us. We also have to make our laws more robust in order to fight the goliath of child marriage.